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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Viz students put heart and sole into campus installation

Those shoes in the back of the closet finally have a purpose.
Three Texas A&M visualization students are using a class project as an opportunity to share art on campus while simultaneously hosting a shoe drive.
The project group has collected shoes to create an all-shoe art piece. After the completion of the project the shoes will be donated to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization seeking to fight poverty through distributing clothing items and creating self-sustaining jobs.
“As soon as the project was assigned we were pitching ideas,” said Erika Alam, visualization senior.
Hasmig Hanessian, visualization senior, said the group began by brainstorming things they liked.
“So shoes was one of them,” Hanessian said. “I thought that shoes are a very expressive thing; people definitely express themselves through the shoes that they wear.”
The group decided to create an art installation made entirely of shoes that would ultimately be donated to Soles4Souls.
“I thought that it would be cool for people to give a little part of themselves into this project and then be able to share that with others,” Hanessian said.
Donna Hajash, the professor who assigned the project, said the assignment was meant to be interactive.
“This is the third year I have done this project [and] this is only the second time a group has chosen to focus on a charity,” Hajash said.
The group said it spread the word about its project with posters on campus, a Facebook event page and through word of mouth. Alam said donations came from people around the local community and their families back home.
Vanessa Harrison, visualization senior, said being able to build the project out of donated shoes reflected the community she lives in.
“We were able to get over 100 shoes from students in College Station and people from our hometowns,” Harrison said, “I think that the coolest part is that the reason it is possible is because people are being selfless and giving up things that they don’t need any more. “
All donations will all given to Soles4Souls after the art installation is completed Wednesday.
“They donate the shoes and they also create microenterprises, so they are trying to make a sustainable economy in places like Haiti as opposed to just being a charity that gives the shoes away, which we thought was cool,” Alam said.
All three members of the group said the organization’s focus on sustainability and not just a one-time donation was the reason they chose it.
“They are not just giving a donation,” Harrison said. “They understand that just giving a pair of shoes will not get someone out of poverty. They are really working to end poverty.”
While donation bins have been placed around campus until Wednesday morning, the group said most of its support came from families and elementary schools from back home.
“It is hard for college students because they don’t have shoes here that they don’t wear,” Harrison said.
The installation will be featured beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday in Academic Plaza.

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