On April 10, more than 180 students walked barefoot on Hearn Plaza and lined the Quad with paper feet to show support for children who face challenges while trying to gain access to education — such as walking to school without shoes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 million people in the world are infected with hookworm, which is mainly acquired by walking barefoot in contaminated soil. The disease is a major burden in developing countries.
“The walk is meant to be educational and informative,” said senior Ashley Millhouse, who organized the event. “At Wake Forest, students worry about classes and tests, but we don’t have to think about whether we have shoes to wear. Walking the Quad without shoes helps us take a few minutes to think about others.”
A history major from Moorpark, Calif., Millhouse learned about the needs of children in sub-Saharan Africa during a semester spent studying abroad in Ghana. This is the second year she has organized One Day Without Shoes, and she is making plans for the tradition to continue after she graduates in May.
“I wanted to make sure that this isn’t just an event that happened because I organized it during my time at Wake Forest. One Day Without Shoes has a young leadership team this year, and every April 10, the community can expect to see bare feet on the Quad,” Millhouse said.
T-shirts and handmade jewelry from Ghana were sold. More than $300 in donations was collected and will be sent to BASICS International.
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