University of Virginia Darden School of Business Students Go Barefoot for a Cause

24 April 2013

In some parts of the world, shoes are considered luxuries. So it wasn’t just spring in Virginia that brought students at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to Flagler Courtyard on Tuesday, 16 April. Football, Frisbees and music were in abundance, but at the business school known for its social responsibility, students took an afternoon to educate – in their bare feet.

The afternoon’s activities were held as part of TOMS‘ One Day Without Shoes, an initiative to draw attention to issues associated with child poverty and the positive effects shoes can have on a child’s life, from health to education. The event, held on campuses and organizations across the globe, is based on the premise that bare feet spark conversation, and conversation inspires action.

“The TOMS mission, as you may know, is that for every pair of shoes bought, they donate a pair of shoes to a developing country,” explained Darden Second Year student Sarah Washabaugh, who played a key role in organizing the event with help from other Darden students who will work full time for Deloitte, plan to intern at Deloitte or are sponsored Deloitte scholars. “Deloitte has been a partner of TOMS for a few years, helping with their sustainability and supply chain practices,” she said.

TOMS and its corporate partners make it about more than the shoes; the footwear children receive is frequently accompanied by health care, school uniforms and community development programs.

“It’s definitely got people talking,” Washabaugh said. “People now know more about the TOMS mission and what they do and their role in trying to improve the health and education of children around the world.”

Between fielding rogue cricket balls, barefoot First Year student Saurabh Dagia agreed, “This has been generating a lot of conversations. It’s been getting people outside, it’s a gorgeous day. People want to come out; you give them a chance to come out, it just makes it easier to raise awareness about such things.”

Awareness is not all Darden students are raising. “Deloitte will put up some money for the section that has the most participation today,” Washabaugh noted. “It’s donating $200 to a charity of the section’s choice.”

As for which section would win the $200 for a charity of their choice, Dagia asserted: “C. Always C.”

Section C, indeed winners of the participation challenge, will be donating the $200 to The One Fund Boston.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia