December 6, 2010

Santa Clara Kicks Off Third Annual WCC Shoe Drive

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The West Coast Conference and have announced it will be kicking off the third annual WCC Shoe Drive to collect shoes for Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that donates footwear to those in need around the country and the world.

This season Santa Clara University is setting its sights high, with the goal of collecting over 3,500 shoes – slightly more than last year's winner, LMU, collected in 2010. To accomplish this goal Santa Clara's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has come up with several innovative strategies and incentives to mobile the SCU student body and greater Santa Clara community to donate.

"SAAC just didn't really see the point in setting a goal that wasn't going to win this competition," said Bronco Associate Athletic Director Staci Gustafson. "They really believe that with greater SAAC involvement, campus and community presence this goal could easily be achieved."

Allie Sibole, a member of the cross country team, proved this over the Thanksgiving break. She collected almost 50 pairs of shoes and the team collected over 100 pairs - giving SCU a great head start on their ultimate goal of 3,500 shoes.

Monetary donations are also being accepted in order to purchase new shoes, and collections of both shoes and money will continue throughout basketball season, ending on Sat., Feb. 26 at the final men's home game against Pepperdine.

In addition, SAAC, whose members include runners Carey Parker and Richard Zhu, baseball's Joe Supple and Jason Westerberg, and tennis' Kelly Lamble, want to reach out into the local community for donations. Plans are being made to have an organized community pick up date in which SAAC members will go into nearby neighborhoods and gather donations.

All Bronco athletics teams are also being challenged to contribute to the cause, with a competition among the various SCU sports teams being held to see which team can collect the most shoes per person.

The conference-wide competition challenges the eight WCC schools to collect as many pairs of gently-used shoes over the course of the basketball season, culminating in March at the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. The university that collects the most shoes by this time will receive a student fan group party and be honored during a halftime ceremony at the conference championships.

The competition, which began in 2008 when the WCC Tournament relocated to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, has been a great success in its first two years with over 15,200 shoes donated and distributed both nationally and internationally.

"It's been amazing to see the support for the WCC Shoe Drive from all of the WCC students, families and communities," said Aaron Magness of "Over 15,000 pairs of shoes have been donated to date – that's a lot of happy toes!"

Aside from having donation boxes at the entrances to the Leavey Center, shoe collection boxes will also be present across the SCU campus including boxes in every RLC, making it easier for faculty, staff, and students to participate in the shoe drive. A competition between the RLCs will reward the dorm that collects the most shoes with a pizza party. SAAC also wants to integrate the shoe drive with other on-campus groups and events, hoping to have a presence at various AS programs and throughout Spirit Week.