University of La Verne junior Steve Becerra collects the shoes donated by the football team for the Nike Reuse a Shoe Program. This project turns old athletic shoes of any brand into sports surfaces for community use. Nike has partnered with the National Recycling Coalition, who is responsible for the collection of the shoes, so Nike can focus on such aspects as the actual construction of facilities utilizing the recycled surfaces.
No one ever thought their old sneakers could help children in need, but the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program, introduced to the University of La Verne by the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, is showing students how they can support the cause.
It all starts with old shoes, which are collected in donation boxes around campus, then turned in to Nike, where the shoes are processed into a material called “Nike Grind.”
This spongy material, made of rubber, foam and fabric from various parts of the shoes, is then used to make different sports surfaces such as basketball courts, running tracks and playgrounds for children all over the world.
“It’s a great way to give back to people who are not as fortunate as others,” Daniel Constanza, the baseball representative for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, said.
Since the program was created, Nike has recycled more than 20 million pairs of shoes and created more than 250 sport surfaces.
La Verne’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee started participating in the program three years ago along with all of the other Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools.
The SCIAC colleges and universities compete annually to see which school can collect the most shoes to earn the “Golden Shoe Award” and bragging rights.
Before the weigh in date, which is May 15, the committee is trying to raise awareness on campus and get students to donate their shoes.
“I’ve seen some shoes in the boxes, but I think it can get better,” Costanza said.
There are donation boxes on campus located in Woody Hall, Founders Hall, Wilson Library, Davenport Dining Hall and in Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion located near the coaches’ offices.
The donated shoes can be any brand, as long as they have rubber soles, contain no metal and are not cleats or dress shoes.
The Reuse-A-Shoe Program is part of Nike’s Let Me Play Campaign, which strives to build and rebuild proper athletic surfaces throughout Southern California.
The program targets low-income communities that do not have useable athletic facilities, in hopes that equal opportunity will someday be established in athletics.
Not only is the program a great way to help needy children, but it is also an earth-friendly project.
This project keeps old shoes from clogging landfills and reuses materials that would otherwise be wasted.
“I believe it is a responsibility of educators to teach our young people the importance of community service and helping those who are less fortunate, and the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program is just one avenue to do that,” Julie Kline, head women’s basketball coach, said.
The Student Athletic Advisory Committee plans to continue to support the program annually and hopes that awareness and participation at ULV will grow each year.
“I think in the years to come there will be more opportunities and more people will find this program useful and donate their shoes,” Ashley Paul, the women’s basketball representative for the committee, said.
For more information about the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.letmeplay.com/reuseashoe.
Jamie Ondatje can be reached at email@example.com.