Shoe-decorating event kicks off Inspire Media symposium

Jillian Sandler

Inspire Media will be kicking off its weekend symposium with a TOMS shoes decorating event Friday.

The TOMS Shoes Style Your Sole Decorating Party & MUSIC FEST will be taking place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Norris South Lawn.

Medill freshman Alison Decker, Inspire Media’s co-vice president of advocacy and awareness, said the TOMS “One for One” business model consists of donating one pair of shoes to children in need for every pair of shoes sold. She added that event participants bought their shoes before the event.

“We’re kind of providing a means where people can decorate themselves and have fun with it … It’s a way to have fun while buying a pair,” Decker said.

She said the event, combined with the TOMS business model, serves as a great way to start off the symposium, which will take place Friday and Saturday.

“(It’s a) kickoff event to get people in the spirit, to be inspired,” Decker said.

According to Inspire Media Co-President Andrew Glor, the purpose of the organization is to teach the public about social issues through the use of media.

“Our group believes that creating media to tackle social issues is the best way to have a positive impact on the world,” the Communication senior said. “It’s the best way to expose someone to an issue they may not know about or care about yet, but they see your piece … and instantly, they at least have that issue or problem on their radar.”

The symposium will serve as a showcase for all of the work Inspire Media has done during the year and also as a tool to teach people about how to use the media to promote social issues, Glor added.

“We want people who are social activists to work with us to achieve their goals through the use of media tools,” he said.

Glor also said Inspire Media practices a balance between using the media to promote social agendas and helping artists make creative films.

“Artistic people can come to us to help produce projects that tackle social issues in creative ways,” he said.

In addition to the TOMS shoes event, Friday’s happenings will include a meal catered by Blind Faith Cafe and a speech by keynote speaker Robert Kenner, director of Oscar-nominated documentary “Food, Inc.” Saturday afternoon will feature master classes in examining music and making various media projects. A gallery showcasing seven Open Media grant films and the premiere of Inspire Media’s 2010-2011 film grant, Language of the Unheard, which profiles a South Dakota Native American reservation, will conclude Saturday night’s events.

With the exception of the price incurred for buying a pair of TOMS, all events are free of cost, according to Weinberg freshman Jessica Smasal, Inspire Media’s co-vice president of advocacy and awareness.

Smasal said she feels the events will help the organization to share the importance of social issues with the rest of campus.

“Our goal is to create and promote awareness about issues that we care about,” she said. “We feel like doing so through sources of media is the most valuable way of really exposing (them).”

Communication senior Sky Dylan-Robbins, Inspire Media’s co-president, said she hopes the organization will be able to make a long-lasting social impact.

“I’ve really recognized the power of the media,” she said. “I believe that we’re all on Earth for a reason, to somehow contribute to this world that we live in, and the media is really powerful tool through which we can create waves.”

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