Student Organization Encourages Community to Step Into Another’s Shoes

This is the body. March 25, 2011—On April 5, don’t be surprised if many people at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls are seen with bare feet.

Members of the student organization UWRF Actionist Network® are sponsoring A Day Without Shoes on campus. Initiated by footwear retailer TOMS Shoes, a company that gives a pair of shoes to children in need with each pair purchased, the event encourages people to experience the importance of shoes by going without them for one day.

Also on April 5, a one-mile walk around campus will be held from 5-7:30 p.m., beginning at the University Center. The UWRF Actionist Network® will also be collecting new or gently used pairs of shoes at the University Center’s Information Desk March 31 and April 1 and 4 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sophomore Cammy Nelson, a communications study major from Red Wing, Minn., leads the newly formed student organization.

“I’m dreaming big. I hope we collect at least five hundred pairs of shoes,” says Nelson.

In developing countries, owning a pair of shoes can mean the difference between getting an education or clean water, both of which are often miles away from home. Shoes collected at UWRF will be distributed to children across the globe.

Nelson reminds members of campus that it’s not permissible to go barefoot in some areas around campus, including the University Center. She says participants can still promote the day, even if they must cover their feet.

“Get creative – decorate your shoes to bring awareness to the day,” says Nelson.

The UWRF Actionist Network® is the first university chapter of the Actionist Network® created by Jess Weiner, an author, motivational speaker and self-esteem expert focusing on the pressure on young girls in society.

“I can’t put into words how [Weiner] has impacted my life and my education. She’s helping make my dreams a reality. I want to be a motivational speaker and work with young girls and promote leadership,” says Nelson. “The Actionist Network® encourages students to take action so that they will feel more confident and comfortable in leadership positions.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Nelson at camryn.nelson@uwrf.edumail.

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