Inspired by TOMS shoes founder, campus encourages social responsibility

What do shoes have to do with social responsibility? Penn State Brandywine is about to find out. On Thursday, Oct. 25, the campus is asking Penn Staters to help kick off its Common Read program in three ways: 1. Show Us Your Shoes, 2. donate your shoes for a Paired Shoe Brigade and 3. learn about social responsibility and entrepreneurship.

The Common Read program annually encourages the campus community to come together to read one book and then share and discuss its philosophies. This year's book is "Start Something That Matters," by TOMS Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie; for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, one pair of shoes is given to a child in need somewhere in the world.

What better way to launch a yearlong series of events than by rocking a pair of TOMS shoes as part of the Show Us Your Shoes initiative? Any pair will do, but Penn State Toms can be purchased at online.

The Paired Shoe Brigade is a shoe drive with a twist. The campus will collect pairs of shoes from October 25 through November 29 (note: a lonely shoe with a missing mate will not be accepted) to be donated to TerraCycle, Inc., the world's leading 'upcycling' company, which converts difficult-to-recycle waste materials into eco-friendly, affordable products available at major retailers.

"Our goal is to eliminate the idea of waste by creating collection and solution systems for anything that today must be sent to a landfill," reads the company's website.

The kick-off will also feature a presentation by Professor of Management Veronica Godshalk titled "Are all Entrepreneurs Social Entrepreneurs? Factors that Determine the Difference" at 11:30 a.m. in the Tomezsko Classroom Building, room 103, followed by light refreshments in the lounge. This Common Read interactive conversation about "Start Something that Matters" will focus on traits and behaviors of entrepreneurs and how they differ (or not) from social entrepreneurs.

Coming up on Thursday, Nov. 29, Albe Zakes, the 27-year-old global vice president of media relations at TerraCycle, Inc., will speak to the campus. More information about his talk will be released shortly.

Paired Shoes Brigade Rules:

Acceptable waste: pairs of women's, men's and children's shoes, which may include athletic sneakers, cleats, flats, high heels, dress shoes, boots and fashion or casual sneakers.

The following will NOT be accepted: ski boots, roller skates, roller blades, ice skates, completely broken or ruined footwear, single shoes, rubber flip flops, slippers or any shoe that has even one hole in it the size of a pen or bigger.