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wingspan • march 30, 2012

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HEY to the WOOD Smarts are sexy, too

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Charitable consumerism on the rise

to a child in need for every pair sold. However, buying poor children shoes that cost $25 is not the most cost effective transaction. By taking advantage of a consumerist culture that is fixated on the newest fad, the founder of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, has become suceads, string and wire equaled hope as customers filled The cessful. With a net worth of $5 million and his own Ophilus, a boutique and home décor store in personal sailboat, it is debatable whether the endowntown Brevard. In an effort to support untrepreneur is stimulating his own personal wealth derprivileged women in Central America, the local •In 2007 Toms was honored with the or his cause. shop began selling bracelets two years ago. prestigious People’s Design Award “I do not feel that you can make a blanket stateEach purchase of the accessories stimulates a from the Smithsonian Institution ment to answer whether compassionate consumfund that links directly back to supporting women erism is negative or positive in a society,” Carlton in need thousands of miles away. •50% of sales go to the Global Fund said. “Each situation is unique. It simply depends. “I had a friend that was going on a medical to fight AIDS for each item supAs in every area of life, there are always going to be mission trip. Originally, she was making the braceported by Product Red those that do things for selfish gain.” lets to fund her way to Guatemala. Once she got Yet, according to www.povertycure.org/issues, over there, she taught the women of the village to •42% of those who are aided by this class of assistance and donation can lead to make the bracelets,” Martha Carlton, owner of The Krochet Kids International now own an increased dependency on foreign aid. The use Ophilus said. “This way the women could continue their own home of these products also influences local economies. to support themselves off of the newly acquired Sending in a supply of shoes into an area harms skill. Also, the customers that bought the bracelets •Falling Whistles aids war-affected the income of individual sellers of shoes and in a felt good about their purchase.” peoples in the Congo by selling sense “gives a man a fish” rather than “teaching Unknowingly, these consumers were particiwhistles for $34 to $104 him how to fish.” pating in an economic trend commonly referred to “I think that perhaps these companies donating as “compassionate consumerism.” The system of (Information from cooltomsshoes.blogspot. and giving products away might lead to dependenselling merchandise for a cause has evoked much com/2009/09/toms-shoes-facts.html) cy. But you never know until it actually reaches that controversy in the recent years. Whether or not point. It is still a positive aspect of our society. It is good marketing translates into good support is great that businesses would actually do this,” freshman Jacob Hensley debatable. said. “Shoes are a necessity, and that is never going to change.” TOMS, generally the trendiest contender, donates a pair of shoes

LAUREN STEPP creative director

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FLATS STATS

TOMS shoes popular way to give Media uses marketing SUZANNE ENGLISH feature writer

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s he walked off the plane and onto the ground of Argentina, Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoe company, saw families in extreme poverty with horrific health conditions. Children walked around barefoot in the streets with deformed feet because they lacked shoes. That’s when Mycoskie decided he had a responsibility to these innocent people. He revolutionized the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe and reinvented it for the U.S. market. His mission had begun, and TOMS was born. “I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little,” Mycoskie said in his biography, “and I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.” Podoconiosis, also known as “Mossy Foot,” is a debilitating and disfiguring disease. It is a form of elephantiasis that affects the lymphatic system of the lower legs, according to Mossy Foot Project. The disease is transferred by walking around barefoot in volcanic soil that’s rich in

silica, which is commonly found in rural parts of developing countries. “Mossy foot” causes ulcers, major deformity and swelling in the legs. Between 500,000 and one million people are currently afflicted with podoconiosis, and the people who develop the disease suffer from extreme pain and are considered outcasts by their communities. Podoconiosis is one of the main reasons why Mycoskie started the TOMS business. “Giving does not just feel good; it’s really good for business, and it’s good for your personal brand,” Mycoskie said. Mycoskie, an entrepreneur from Arlington, Texas, founded TOMS in 2006 after returning home from Argentina. He based TOMS shoes in Santa Monica, Calif., which also operates a nonprofit subsidiary called Friends of TOMS. The company donates a pair of shoes to a child for every pair of TOMS sold. “I really like the idea that TOMS has created,” sophomore Ryan Owen said. “The idea that they will donate a pair of shoes to a kid in need for every pair someone buys, gives people who usually don’t donate to charities an opportunity to be a part of something.”

One for One

24% of students were influenced to buy TOMS 24% of girls own Toms because of the charity 15% of students 1% of students wear Toms once a wear Toms 3% of males week

own Toms

44% of students think Toms is a charity worth supporting (Wingspan survey of 231 students)

for aid

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AMY TAYLOR feature editor

s junior Jennifer Reaume plugged her headphones into her ears, she felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that the CD she had just bought on iTunes was going to help people in need. Reaume had just bought the album Hope for Haiti Now; A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, featuring artists such as Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay and Beyonce. “I bought the CD because I felt bad for the unfortunate people who had been victims of the disaster over there,” Reaume said. “I like doing things like that because it gives me a good feeling knowing that I was a part of something that helped out other people. The fact that the album’s proceeds went to a good cause made me want to buy it more just because I realize how bad some people have it in Haiti; they don’t have anything, so that made me purchase it.” Recently, charitable organizations have been taking a new approach to raising money for their causes by using the proceeds from the sales of music and movies. “Products like these make a difference. I’ve been to a church concert that was for Red Cross. I think companies are beginning to realize America is very fortunate, and we have a lot of money compared to these third world countries so we need to help out,” Reaume said. “I think that it is a great idea because it will help us look good and feel good about ourselves by helping out. I think this will also make business sales go up.” Sophomore Melany Perez has not only purchased songs to benefit charities, but she has also bought tickets to several Disney movies that support the animals featured in the films. The movie Chimpanzee donated a portion of its proceeds during the first week to the Jane Goodall Institute. “I decided to see those movies because I love animals,” Perez said. “I think I would’ve seen the movies either way, but I like helping them. I also bought a benefit CD when the earthquakes hit in Japan. I bought some songs off of that CD and the money went to Japan. I decided to buy these songs because I really like the culture of Japan, so I wanted to help out.”

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MG, did you see that Robert changed his relationship status to single?” Completely meaningless. Calculus, physics, politics, arts, current events. All sexy. Entirely ASHLEY attractive. HEYWOOD To me, any person who can actually hold a conversation and not bring up the infamous Snooki baby or other pop culture trend is more than OK with me. Let me set the scene for you — a date with your new significant other where the two of you spend the evening discussing the pros and cons of future space exploration or expressing hatred for those who forget to add a constant after integrating. I get shivers just thinking about it. How amazing would it be to have an intelligent conversation with another person for once? Having to trudge through the day dealing with vapid excuses for conversation that only include biased comparisons of who is dating whom and which girl is a skank for whichever reason. I admit I do talk about Facebook in public, and I confess to thoroughly enjoying Jersey Shore, but I am more than a pop culture feeding hermit. People nowadays see intelligence as a form of weakness, using awful slander terms such as nerd, geek, dweeb and so forth, but I challenge you. I say, embrace the label and take it as a compliment. Ten years from now how cool you were in high school based on your good looks and which girls you dated will mean nothing. Our nerds will be your bosses and CEOs, and that one little kid you never talked to because he was a dweeb might be the next Steve Jobs. I cannot express how attractive intelligence is. I am not saying there is anything wrong with people who have less than perfect GPAs, but I want to convey to students that there is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with being a nerd. I love when people can share their turmoil for integration by parts and their love for synthetic division. I don’t care about who wore whom at the Oscars, but I do care about distinguishing correctly when to use who or whom. When someone calls you a nerd, what they are really saying is, “I wish I could be as smart as you, but instead of trying to reach that level I will put down your achievements to make myself feel less like an under-accomplished dunce.” So all you geeks, dorks, nerds, dweebs and weirdos unite! Do the right thing, embrace it! I am a nerd. And I am proud.

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