Students freeze for One Day Without Shoes

Cold and rainy weather didn’t stop TOMS Mercyhurst Campus Club and other supporters of One Day Without Shoes (ODWS) from shedding their shoes and going barefoot to bring awareness to the needs of children in less fortunate situations.

ODWS is an annual, international event promoted by TOMS Shoes.

TOMS is an organization that bases its efforts on a “one for one” policy: for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair to a child in need.

Alicia Cagle photo: TOMS Mercyhurst Campus Club Vice President Garrett Stolz participates in the freeze mob by holding a sign that reads Alicia Cagle photo: TOMS Mercyhurst Campus Club Vice President Garrett Stolz participates in the freeze mob by holding a sign that reads “We go barefoot so kids don’t have to.”

TOMS stresses the importance of giving shoes instead of other necessities. According to their Giving Report, “Shoes have value beyond being critical for physical health. Many schools in developing countries require shoes for attendance. And some soil-based diseases not only cause physical symptoms but create cognitive impairment too, crippling a child’s long-term potential.”

TOMS Mercyhurst Campus Club didn’t stop its efforts at not wearing shoes, they also got the campus talking about their flash freeze mob in front of Zurn Hall.

At 12:30 p.m. students and faculty froze for 10 minutes in any position, from a passionate embrace to playing Twister. This attracted the attention of students, faculty and local media.

In the frozen positions, some students held signs or offered informational material that those walking by could take.

TOMS Mercyhurst Campus Club President Adrianne LaGruth recognizes the importance of TOMS, ODWS and the awareness it spreads.

“TOMS does One Day Without Shoes to show how people in other countries have to live without shoes,” said LaGruth. “If we can appreciate for one day what they have to go through for a lifetime, then it gives you a little taste of why we do what we do and why it’s not okay to turn the blind eye to it.”

Junior Alyssa Ross was impressed that despite the weather, students still went barefoot in support of the cause.

“In my three years at Mercyhurst, I have never seen a campus club rooted in humanitarian awareness pull off an event as impressively as the TOMS club did with ODWS,” said Ross. “Adrianne (LaGruth), with her dedication and leadership within the club, worked relentlessly to put together the club’s involvement with ODWS, and it is apparent that her love and passion for the TOMS organization and its mission was the driving force behind the success of the event.”

Junior Lisa Guest agreed with Ross.

“The event went extremely well despite the cold and rainy weather. It was great to see so many people go without shoes even if only for a part of their day,” she said

Leading up to ODWS and during the day, LaGruth commented that many people began sharing information against the campaign and TOMS organization. She did not let that stand in her way.

“To every cause there are two sides, and I think that it is better to have given and told not to then not give at all,” said LaGruth. “I’d rather see people embrace something good than not try it and never know.”

Students are looking forward to future events and ODWS at Mercyhurst.

“I hope this is the first of many well-recognized ODWS on the Mercyhurst University campus for years to come,” Ross said.

To learn more about TOMS and its cause, visit