Whether it has been through students flaunting them on their way to class or tweeting about the new pair that just came in the mail, TOMS shoes have made their way onto campus. However, TOMS are hitting the scene in a different way as a new TOMS Shoes club makes its way to Elizabethtown College. Different students have come together and worked hard to begin this TOMS movement on campus.
TOMS shoes was created in 2006, when a man named Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina and noticed none of the children were wearing shoes. Mycoskie decided to respond to the problem by coming up with the “One for One” movement, giving a pair of shoes to a person in need every time a pair of TOMS are bought. As if this were not enough motivation to buy a pair of TOMS, the shoes also have been catching people’s eyes all over the world with their fashionable and more comfortable moccasins.
Students sophomore Alyssa Vasaturo and junior Johanna Goslin, the president and vice president of the TOMS club on campus, have been inspired by the TOMS’ story and decided to start Etown’s own TOMS movement. Both students had similar desires to get the club up and running for this semester.
Vasaturo came up with the idea to start the club at the end of last year as a rising sophomore. Her go-getter attitude about the club caused her to get things started as soon as possible. “I noticed that a lot of people wear TOMS around here, and I have always been interested in the One for One movement, so why not?” Vasaturo said. “Why not start a club with all these people here supporting the cause?”
Goslin’s motivation to help lead the club comes from her strong feelings about the TOMS movement. “I wanted everyone else on campus to understand my feelings on the issue, and since a lot of people on campus wear TOMS, I thought it would be a great idea to be able to get everyone together for the movement,” she expressed. A junior now, she found out about TOMS during her freshman year through an AT&T commercial, which sparked the interest in it.
One of TOMS club’s main missions is to make the campus aware of the issues that TOMS brings to the world and in order to do so, they have plenty of ideas spread out through the academic year. Once a year, TOMS announces a worldwide day of awareness called “One Day without Shoes.” On that day, people are encouraged to go one day without wearing shoes to spread awareness of the millions of children who are not fortunate enough to wear a pair of shoes. Although a few students walked around campus with no shoes this year, TOMS club plans to promote the day in 2012 so that more students can take part.
Another one of TOMS’ big promotions is the “Style Your Sole Party,” which is held through different TOMS organizations like Etown’s club. People are encouraged to buy a pair of white TOMS shoes, so that they come to the party and design and decorate their shoes the way they want them to look. Vasaturo was excited as she spoke about TOMS club’s plans to have Etown’s “Style Your Sole Party.” “I’m hoping people get excited about it because how cool is it getting to design your own shoes?” she said. She also mentioned that the TOMS club will try to lower the prices of the shoes for those who participate in the “Style Your Sole Party.”
“TOMS is such an inspiring organization,” first-year Caitlin Hogan said when asked about her thoughts on having a TOMS club at Etown. “It is great that Etown students are involved in something world-changing.”
“I think it’s a noble cause that the TOMS club is working towards awareness on this issue,” sophomore Brad McCartney said, commenting, “and it ties in nicely with Etown’s ‘Educate for Service’ motto.”
To kick off their movement, Etown’s TOMS club plans to present “For Tomorrow: The TOMS Shoes Story” documentary to the campus on Monday, Oct. 24 at 9:30 p.m. in Gibble Auditorium to inform students, faculty and staff of the significance of their organization. The 35-minute documentary shows the story of how TOMS got started and what its purpose is in the world. Afterward, the club intends to have a discussion on the documentary to get students to give their input on TOMS.
“We are trying to get the word out about TOMS as an advocacy group,” Vasaturo added. “We wanted to get something started that actually matters to students.”
Students interested in participating in the TOMS club are encouraged to attend meetings every Monday at 8 p.m. in Hoover 214.