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Pepperdine Athletics Contributes Over 1,000 Shoes to Soles4Souls Effort
As part of a challenge among sports teams in the West Coast Conference (WCC), supporters of Pepperdine Athletics donated more than 1,000 shoes to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing shoes to those in need. Though it wasn't enough to win the contest, the Waves' contributed significantly to the WCC's total of more than 5,000 pairs for the charity effort.
The shoe-collecting contest, which began in December 2008, was a way to raise awareness and donations for Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that was created by Wayne Elsey as a response to the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia. Now, after having coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Soles4Souls has already successfully donated over one million pairs of shoes to those hurting both domestically and internationally.
Loyola Marymount University was named the winning WCC school, with 1,500 pairs of shoes donated. LMU studetns will be rewarded with a party at the upcoming WCC Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gonzaga came in second with 1,183 pairs, followed by Pepperdine, which came in third with 1,014. No other school collected more than 500.
"Our Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members and student-athletes worked so hard on this effort," says Julie Rubenstein, women's volleyball student-athlete and SAAC president. "While I’m disappointed that we didn’t win, the cause is a worthy one and we’re just happy to make a difference. I hope that we were able to get the Soles4Souls name out into the community so that people will continue to donate in the future."
Several members of Pepperdine's SAAC and athletic department came together at a collection party on Monday to count the shoes. To help bolster the Waves' total, a last-gasp effort was made to get the amount over 1,000. Women's soccer student-athlete Courtney Price even took the shoes off her feet and threw them into the pile.
"It is always tremendous to see what student-athletes are capable of," says John Watson, Pepperdine athletics director. "I could not be more proud of what the Pepperdine community has done for this organization and for more than doubling our original goal of 500 pairs of shoes."
For more information on Pepperdine Athletics, visit www.pepperdinesports.com.