Posted: Friday Nov 1, 2013
Nov. 1, 2013
Abby Geisel, a senior communication major at Saint Vincent College from Schnecksville (Lehigh County), who is also an ambassador for the socially-active international company, Bangs Shoes, will host a series of lectures by Hannah Davis, founder and president, on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 21. All of the events are free and open to the public.
Bangs invests 20 percent of its net profits from selling shoes in its nonprofit partners which foster long-term sustainable change.
In 2009, Davis traveled to Jiangsu Province in eastern China to teach English and noticed that Chinese workers and farmers were wearing olive green, Army-style shoes. She became inspired to use this model of shoe to form a brand fueled by passion that connects individuals to positivity and works to influence social growth through retail sales. She derived the brand name, Bangs, from the Chinese character for the word help which is phonetically spelled B-A-N-G. Now, Bangs invests in six causes and nonprofit partners that are efficient and effective, focusing on partnership, education and empowerment, not charity. Long-term positive change through retail is the ideology that drives Bangs.
Davis will make presentations at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 in Dr. Richard Kunkle’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship class and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Luparello Lecture Hall followed by a reception. The SVC Bangs Shoes team will be hosting an event in the Carey Center lounge from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Davis’ visit to Saint Vincent is part of a national tour of the nearly 30 college campuses that have Bangs shoe ambassadors. She will appear at Penn State on Wednesday, Nov. 20 and at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday, Nov. 22. In addition to Geisel who serves as campus team leader, other Saint Vincent campus team members include Loretta Bobetich, Tanner Beal, Sabrina Loughran, Rebecca Potopa and Abigail Zlockie.
“Working for Bangs has honestly changed my life,” Geisel commented, “and possibly helped to determine my career path. Over the last year, I have been blessed to hear amazing stories from nonprofits that Bangs partners with. They invest in six causes and nonprofit partners that focus on long-term change and sustainability. Twenty percent of the net profits from the sale of each pair of shoes goes directly to the nonprofit organization associated with each color shoe.”
A portion of the profits from the sale of khaki colored Bangs shoes is invested in ending hunger through Choice Humanitarian, a leadership organization that works in rural villages around the world. Other shoe colors and their recipients include green shoes, development, Soul Foundation, an organization that works to foster sustainable and vibrant Ugandan communities through unique partnerships focused on education, women’s empowerment, food security and health; black shoes, Education in the U.S., Springboard Collaborative, which empowers parents to collaborate with teachers and close the reading achievement gap for children in low-income, urban communities; white shoes, financial empowerment, Kiva, which leverages a worldwide network of microfinance institutions under the belief that all people, even in the most remote areas of the globe, hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others; red shoes, disaster aid, Global Dirt, a Disaster Immediate Response Team (DIRT) that puts the best interest of victims first by starting the re-building and recovery process as soon as they arrive on a disaster site and acting as an intermediary between larger organizations during disasters; and blue shoes, clean water, Drop in the Bucket, which works in East Africa to drill wells that give children and their families access to clean water, while introducing social programs and constructing sanitation facilities.
“Bangs is a very grassroots company that wants to connect with students who want to know that their dollars are going to a good cause,” Geisel concluded.
Geisel has been an ambassador for more than a year, an assignment that has changed during that time and includes talking about the brand, hosting events, communicating through social media and participating in research projects. Last summer, she did research with stores in Colorado that are not mainstream retailers She also sells shoes directly to other students and has a credit card reader on her smart phone so she can process credit card payments. The shoes sell for $55 to $60 per pair.
A 2010 graduate of Parkland High School in Allentown, Geisel is the daughter of Jeff and Terrie Geisel of Schnecksville. After her anticipated graduation in May of 2014, she plans to utilize her studies in communication and marketing to work in a position that has philanthropic goals. As a student, she has completed internships with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. A consecutive dean’s list member and academic scholarship recipient, Geisel has also interned as a sports information assistant with the Saint Vincent Athletic Department and as a sports intern with TribLIVE Radio. She has served as a director of the Saint Vincent College Orientation Committee, as president and vice president of the Saint Vincent College Women in Business Club, as secretary of the Saint Vincent College Communication Club and as a member of Alpha Phi Omega (national service fraternity), Alpha Lambda Delta (for excellent academic achievement in her first year of study) and Saint Vincent College chapter of Colleges Against Cancer.
Photo: Abby Geisel and a pair of Bangs shoes
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