Webster Students Experience "One Day Without Shoes"

Webster students participate in the national "One Day Without Shoes" campaign

ST. LOUIS, APRIL 16, 2013 - Imagine, just for a moment, what life would be like if you didn't own any shoes. Think about how many injuries your feet could sustain in just a week of walking around, the reactions from friends, colleagues and those in the public if they saw you walking down the street with no shoes, or even what places you no longer would be allowed to enter (no shirts, no shoes, no service!).

For approximately 740 million people around the world, they don't have to imagine this. It's a daily reality.

The issue of people who do not have shoes will be explored by Webster's Service Learning class, when they participate in the national “One Day Without Shoes” project on April 16. The annual campaign, which was started by the TOMS shoe company, will focus on the effects of this problem on health, education and self-esteem.

“We have the liberty of taking shoes for granted, and often find ourselves embarrassed during those rare times when we don't have shoes on and then someone breaks a glass, or we step on a sharp rock in our backyard,” said Darren Lewis, a public relations major in the School of Communications who is helping organize the Webster event. “For hundreds of millions of people, they have to live with this every day, and the effects on them are much more dramatic than people first realize.”

One of the biggest issues of not having shoes is it increases the chance of being infected with the parasitic hookworm. The soil-transmitted parasite is particularly devastating to children and has been linked to stunted growth, decreased cognitive development, anemia and chronic fatigue. Studies have shown that children with hookworm are 20 percent less likely to go to school and earn 40 percent in wages when they become adults.

Other studies have found that children who do not own shoes are 62 percent more likely to miss school, which decreases their likelihood of getting a college education or a profession that will lift their families out of poverty, and that those same children are more likely to have self-esteem issues that will affect then the rest of their lives.

This year's event starts at 11 a.m. April 16 in the Quad area on the Webster Groves campus, where students will have several displays about the effects of not wearing shows. At 4 p.m., there will then be a “shoeless” march from the quad into the downtown area and back. At 5 p.m. the film “For Tomorrow” will be shown.

For more information about the event, visit the event's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/489422221122813/