Courtesy of TOMS
With a new season of college football beginning Saturday for the Buckeyes, a certain shoe company is giving Ohio State fans a new way to show their Buckeye pride while also contributing to a humanitarian mission, one pair of shoes at a time.
TOMS launched its Campus Classics collection Aug. 20. Shoes from the collection feature school colors of 33 colleges and universities nationwide, including a scarlet and gray version specifically designed for OSU.
Going along with the TOMS One for One giving policy, one pair of shoes will be donated to a child in need with every purchase from the Campus Classics collection.
The One for One mission got its start in 2006 when founder Blake Mycoskie visited Argentina and saw a noticeable absence of shoes among the children living in the country’s poorest villages. The shoes, which were first modeled after the Argentine alpargata design, which features a cloth upper and hemp or rush sole, are distributed to children in need worldwide.
Mycoskie visited OSU Autumn Quarter 2009 to talk about the One for One mission.
Allison Burr, a fourth-year in hospitality management and the president of TOMS Ohio State, said she believes the addition of the Campus Classics line will increase awareness of the brand and its mission among college students, whom she said often receive an undeserved, apathetic reputation.
“I think there’s this misconception that college students don’t care about the world, but I really don’t believe that,” Burr said. “While I’ve been at Ohio State I’ve met a lot of people who are really passionate about making a difference. College students are already one of the biggest consumers of TOMS, and the Campus Classics are only going to make that more true.”
In addition to giving students an opportunity to help a child in need, Burr said the inclusion of OSU in the Campus Classics collection is an “honor and a privilege” not only for the TOMS campus representatives, but for all who attend the university.
“Who doesn’t love helping out the world and rooting for the Buckeyes?” Burr said. “(The Campus Classics collection) gives students at our university the chance to be a part of something amazing.”
Alexandra Constantinou, a third-year in international studies and a second-year TOMS campus representative, said that while the inclusion of OSU in the Campus Classics line is special for students, it also has the potential to give the TOMS movement a large step forward.
“I think the fact that they did choose Ohio State shows that they do recognize that it is a big thing here and that it is really catching on,” Constantinou said. “With 50,000 people, if each of those people all bought the shoes, then that would have a huge impact.”
While the Campus Classics collection was recently released, the TOMS mission is nothing new to OSU.
TOMS Ohio State, an activist group on campus that works directly with the TOMS company, holds numerous events throughout the year in addition to promoting products and passing along the One for One mission.
Past events by TOMS Ohio State have included Style Your Sole, which invited students to purchase and custom-paint a pair of TOMS Classics, and One Day Without Shoes, a day-long event which encouraged students to walk barefoot to gain insight into the lives of those whom TOMS strives to help.
“We’re one of the largest TOMS campus clubs in the country with one of the largest amount of campus representatives,” said Jessica Bracy, a third-year fashion and retail studies major and member of TOMS Ohio State. “We’re not just a marketing campaign for campus, we’re actually trying to get people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do for other people.”
Shoes from the TOMS Campus Classics collection retail for $48 and are available online at the TOMS website.