For several years, CHC has followed a November tradition of holding a Fair Trade event during which vendors of food products, jewelry, clothing and other items are invited to sell their wares to the College community and, at the same time, educate these consumers about the meaning and value of purchasing items designated as fair trade. This year’s sale will be held November 18, tying National Hunger and Homelessness Week, Thanksgiving and holiday shopping in with support of the fair trade effort.
CHC is part of a national campaign involving institutions of higher education, places of worship, schools and even towns that guides and supports these groups in establishing fair trade programs within their borders. Locally, in addition to CHC, Cabrini College, St. Joseph’s University and Villanova University are part of this group. Media is designated a Fair Trade City. Fair Trade Campaigns, Chestnut Hill College, can be found at http://fairtradecampaigns.org/campaign/fair-trade-at-chestnut-hill-college/.
The campaign has five distinct parts: building the team, reaching out to campus outlets, sourcing fair trade items at campus events, committing to educating others about fair trade and developing a fair trade resolution.
Unified 4 Uganda, a CHC club founded four years ago to support educational efforts in several areas of Uganda, has adopted the Fair Trade campaign for CHC. Marie Conn, Ph.D., professor of religious studies, is the club’s advisor.
“We have started to build our team and we’re hoping to have faculty, staff and students join our efforts,” says Conn. “On campus, we use fair trade coffee in the dining hall and Griffin’s Den, and our goal is to work with the bookstore and other areas on campus to see how widely fair trade items can be incorporated into all dimensions of campus life.
“Once we are designated a Fair Trade Campus, it becomes part of who we are,” she adds.
What is “fair trade?” At its most basic, fair trade is the support of farmers and individuals who manufacture clothing, jewelry and other items and are justly compensated for their labor. Various organizations, including Fair Trade USA, “teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage,” according to the organization’s website. Read more about it at www.fairtradeusa.org.