Fair Trade Day promotes awareness

By Elizabeth Scopelliti
October 8, 2009

Students, faculty, staff and visitors gathered in Jazzman’s to learn about the Fair Trade movement and enjoy the coffee, chocolates and accessories that were displayed right outside of the Widener Lecture Hall.

Although the nationally recognized Fair Trade Day takes place during the second weekend of May every year, Cabrini decided to hold an event solely dedicated to informing the campus community and promoting fair trade on Oct. 6, 2009.

“Our main goal is to get the word out,” Drew Niemann, general manager of dining services, said. “We want people enjoying themselves and feeling good about it.”

Niemann went on to talk about educating Cabrini’s community on the subject of fair trade, while also speaking about the new fair trade items that Cabrini will be featuring. New sugar options will be available, which will be complimentary to the Fair Trade coffee that is accessible in the cafeteria and the café.

Fair trade, started in the 1960’s and has now escalated into a worldwide movement. It promotes fair wages to workers in foreign countries who produce the products that we use.

Fair trade products range from coffee and wine, to bananas and craft items, including jewelry. All are reasonably priced, with consideration put into those who made the items.

Cabrini has advocated fair trade since 2005. Catholic Relief Services sponsors Fair Trade as one of six different service options that also include microfinance, migration and food security.

Although Cabrini sponsors fair trade, there were students involved in this organization that were not as educated about fair trade until they came to Cabrini.

Bit Hess, sophomore social worker major and CRS Ambassador of Fair Trade, said she knew of fair trade before Cabrini but did not know any detailed information. It wasn’t until her freshman year, when she read the book “Fair Trade: A Beginner’s Guide,” that she was more knowledgeable as to what fair trade was all about.

“It opened my eyes to how many people it affects,” Hess said.

Senior English and communication major and CRS Ambassador of Fair Trade Shannon Keough also lent some thoughts on the declared Fair Trade Day.

“This is such an easy issue to get involved in.not that it’s an easy issue, but it’s easy to participate,” Keough said.

Keough hopes that students will realize that there is more behind fair trade than just the products that were on display.

“I hope they realize that there’s more behind it than coffee and gifts,” Keough said.

Students were encouraged to pick up informational brochures and papers regarding fair trade, in hopes that they will give more recognition to fair trade and what it stands for.

To live in a world where equality ranks above the higher order system; to treat every individual as a human being, not as a slave of society; to look above and beyond, and to be aware of what goes on behind closed doors, that is what fair trade is all about.

“If every person so chooses, they can really make a difference,” Hess said.

Elizabeth Scopelliti

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