Beginning at 2 p.m. today, NYU students will be able to experience what life is like for the 285 million people worldwide who suffer from visual impairment.
To raise awareness and educate the NYU community about curable eye diseases, the NYU Toms club — a new group working with the Toms shoes and eyewear company — will have a scrim on display at the Kimmel Center for University Life until 6 p.m.
The scrim, one of 20 created by the Toms headquarters, is a seven-foot tall easel with a 32 by 42 inch screen that replicates the vision of an individual with glaucoma or cataracts. The group will speak to students and the community about providing aid to people with eye disease, and distribute sunglasses provided by LiveWell NYU, a university public health initiative.
“The awareness is our main goal, but it’s also to instill a sense of wonder in people,” said Tisch sophomore Melanie Ward, public relations manager for the NYU Toms club. “Why not look through this [the scrim] for a second and put yourself in someone else’s shoes?”
The display of scrims across the country today, World Sight Day, is an extension of Toms’ commitment to giving: for every pair of Toms eyewear purchased, the company will provide a pair of prescription glasses, medical treatment or sight-saving surgery to individuals suffering from visual impairment in developing countries.
The NYU Toms chapter has incorporated the company’s social justice focus into their own business plan.
“Our core mission statement is to be in line with Toms,” said Stern sophomore Derrick Burnett, NYU Toms campus leader. “As a result, we’re doing projects that we’re invested in and passionate about by helping others.”
In addition to World Sight Day, the NYU chapter has planned other exciting events for the 2012-2013 year. For “One Day Without Shoes” on April 16, 2013, Toms’ annual day of awareness, the group hopes to launch NYU’s first barefoot music festival. The lineup for the concert will be based on the popularity of up-and-coming artists featured on the chapter’s new music blog, “sines,” which is slated for a mid-December release.
“The goal of the festival is to celebrate the music of our peers while also recognizing the quality and artistic integrity NYU students have to offer,” said Steinhardt sophomore Forrest Durell, project director for the music festival. “The blog’s role in the concert is to curate the NYU artists that will be playing during the show.”
There are over 500 Toms clubs on college campuses across the nation, but Burnett stated that the NYU chapter’s creativity stands out from the rest.
“Some campuses have cult followings, but they don’t have programs to last,” Burnett said. “In a city this big, with so many other things to do, we figured building something to last is better than building a one-day event that will be gone tomorrow.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 11 print edition. Kristina Bogos is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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