The temperature only reached a high of 45 degrees on Wednesday, November 4, but many Geneva College students spent the day walking barefoot all over campus. As part of an event called “I Dare You to Walk a Day in Their Shoes,” the students raised awareness, funds and footwear for people who can’t afford shoes of their own.
The event, hosted by the staff of McKee Hall, began at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday with an outdoor candlelight service. McKee Residence Director Marti Aiken, along with RD Scott Hwang and sophomore Olivia Hemlock, led students in a time of worship. At 11:59 p.m., students kicked off their shoes and began the day with cold feet and hot apple cider.
“The event was much larger than we expected. There was so much involvement campus-wide,” Aiken says. “It originally was going to just be for our dorm, but someone suggested opening it up to the rest of the Geneva community.”
Halfway through the 24-hour event, faculty and staff honored students’ efforts in a special way by washing students’ feet as they went into the dining hall at lunchtime.
“We’re washing the students’ feet to show our support,” said biology professor Marjie Tobias. “Christ’s example of being a servant was to wash his disciples’ feet, and we’re following him.”
The event raised more than 400 pairs of shoes for people around the world. And in the process, it also made an impact on the lives of the students who participated.
“I’ve had the opportunity to speak to some people personally, and I can see their hearts changing and how excited they are to be doing something, not just talking about it,” Aiken says.
“Because I now have experienced a little of what being barefoot is like,” sophomore Janell Owens explains, “I am able to be more sympathetic to those people who don’t have shoes. I think even the students who weren’t able to participate are more aware of the situation and more likely to donate to the cause.”
All donated shoes and funds will go to Soles4Souls, an organization that will ship the shoes to needy areas in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and even places in the United States. To learn more about Soles4Souls and how you can help the cause, visit www.soles4souls.com.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).