Fair Trade Wallyball Tournament to raise awareness

By Kasey Minnick
February 21, 2008

San Jose Mercury News/mct

In an attempt to strengthen campus awareness, Cabrini will once again host the Fair Trade Wallyball Tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Dixon Center. The tournament is directly associated with the Fair Trade events sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, a non profit organization working to better the lives of the less fortunate through financial, educational and moral support.

This will be the second year Cabrini has hosted the event, which has already been filled to capacity with teams eager to bring awareness to this often forgotten cause, while engaging in some healthy competition at the same time.

Senior English and communication major and CRS Fair Trade Ambassador Yadira Toledo said, “The tournament offers us the perfect opportunity to educate the campus community about this social justice issue.”

Between tests, projects and all of the other responsibilities that occupy most students’ time, it is easy to forget how lucky most Americans are. Beginning with the first sip of coffee each morning, which was probably produced from coffee beans harvested by a ridiculously poor migrant laborer working far below minimum wage, it is easy to take advantage of all of the luxuries we enjoy everyday thanks to the to the immoral treatment and low salaries of thousands of poor workers trying to make enough money to support their families, who usually must remain in the native country due to the immigration restrictions imposed by the United States.

“We have had very good turnouts in the past and spots filled up even more quickly this year,” Orlin Jespersen, the Assistant Director for Intramurals and Recreation at Cabrini, said. “There are currently 11 student teams and five faculty teams signed-up to play, with three to four players per team. This year’s tournament will be double elimination with a winner’s and loser’s bracket so that every team is guaranteed to compete in at least two games. The winning team will receive Fair Trade T-shirts, but the real payoff is knowing that you are contributing to a good cause and helping to end this national problem.”

The tournament is open to the general public and will offer spectators the chance to purchase items like chocolate, coffee and t-shirts, which are commonly mass produced unethically, but will be guaranteed to be made by laborers under responsible, adequate wages. Even the volleyballs used in the games will be strictly Fair Trade oriented, rather than made in sweatshops that pay workers mere pennies for each item.

There is no cost to attend the event and all of the proceeds from the $25.00 registration fees paid by each entered team will be used to cover the cost of the Fair Trade products bought to be sold at the tournament. Donations are greatly appreciated but the main goal of the Wallyball tournament is to raise awareness about this cause and educate as many people as possible so that unfair labor practices are eliminated as quickly as possible.

Tricia Sheehan, a senior English and communication major and a CRS Fair Trade Ambassador, said, “We have had a great response from the campus community and without everyone’s help and support, we couldn’t have these events. It’s a joint effort and I’m so glad to be apart of it.”

Kasey Minnick

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