New president joins class for global solidarity network video conference

By Andrew Stettler
December 4, 2008

staff photographer

Less than one week after President Marie George announced a plan for Justice Matters, the new Cabrini core curriculum aimed to encourage students to work for a more “just world,” she joined ECG 100 “Our Interdependent World,” for a video conference reaching out to a Guatemalan Fair Trade cooperative.

Connecting to the GSN, a partnership between CRS and four Catholic colleges including Cabrini and Villanova University, students were able to ask questions to a Guatemalan farmer named Arnulfo Romas, who works on a Fair Trade cooperative that produces coffee.

CRS works with Romas’ cooperative and others like his around the world that are left out of mainstream markets in order to find consumers for these cooperatives to sell their products to. Students have made Cabrini one of these consumers.

“Fair Trade is a way to alleviate global poverty, [while] paying attention to living wages, minimal ecological impact and social justice,” Drew Arata, a Media Fair Trade Committee member, said in an interview with The Loquitur.

Media is the first town in the United States to officially be recognized as a “Fair Trade town.” In September, “Our Independent World” class traveled to the town for their annual “Fair Trade Concert and ‘Fair’ Fair,” to learn first hand about the economic alternative.

Justice Matters will combine these types of first-hand learning opportunities with classroom education. The idea is to educate students of all majors on how to use their own knowledge and expertise to create change in the world, aimed toward the common good.

This conference was part of a two-week program created by the GSN to educate students on the issue and solutions to human migration. Each year, millions of people across the globe, migrate from their homes and face the punishments of illegal immigration in the United States, or the threat of human trafficking into slavery in other parts of the world like Asia and Africa.

The class was joined by Drew Neimann, general manager of Cabrini’s dining services. Niemann, pushed by a Cabrini student, Meghan Hurley, and the campus’ demand for fair trade products, began ordering a brand of Fair Trade coffee from Sodexo two years ago and has since began ordering fair trade bananas as well.

“What we’re still challenged with is not everybody truly knows what fair trade is,” Niemann said during the conference. “You truly need to have multiple people getting the message out. The better the message gets out the more effective it is to have fair trade products on the campus.”

The college is not only getting the message out through classes like ECG 100 “Our Independent World.” Students have taken extra steps throughout campus to plan events aimed toward involving fair trade with the Cabrini lifestyle. On Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Global Gifts, a local gift shop in Wayne that sells fair trade gifts, held a sale in the campus coffee shop, Jazzmans, located in the Widener Center.

Andrew Stettler

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