‘A Day Without Shoes’ helps raise awareness of global poverty

Aurora University's A Day Without ShoesOn a rainy April 9 morning, approximately 250 Aurora University students, faculty and staff “kicked-off” their shoes and participated in AU’s second annual “A Day Without Shoes.” The day aims to raise awareness of global poverty, with participants engaging and educating the campus community.

“A lot of people around the world do not have the financial ability to purchase shoes,” explained Kris Johnson, Director of Student Leadership. “This in turn can lead to a multitude of other problems. Simply not wearing shoes for a day helps us put in perspective our first world problems.”

With almost half of the world’s population living on less than $2.50 per day, approximately 3 billion people cannot afford the basic necessities of life, and many have never had the luxury of owning a pair of shoes. That can lead to an increased risk of injury, infection and soil-transmitted diseases that could easily have been prevented.

In addition to spending the day barefoot, students, faculty and staff spent time participating in a “Make Your Own Shoes Workshop,” which gave them an opportunity to learn how to create makeshift shoes. The day was capped off with the “Interactive Hunger Banquet,” a simulation dinner that put fifty participants into three different groups based on income level.

To add to the day’s events, the AU community was able to collect more than 1,000 pairs of shoes through the shoe drive that were donated to various local and international organizations.

This was the second time Aubrey Thornton, senior social work major, participated in the event and she feels it is a great way to help raise awareness. “True poverty is not well known or understood and I have learned that poverty is not a choice,” says Thornton. “In the back of my mind, I always knew this, but going without my shoes for a day really made me think about all the people who do not have a choice – it became more real for me.”

Sponsors of this year’s “A Day Without Shoes,” include the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action, the L.E.A.D. Program, Aurora University Human Rights Organization, Aurora University Student Association, Social Work Association, Sodexo and Physical Properties.