Alumni, students discuss implementing Fair Trade as part of Justice Matters core curriculum

By Carol Dwyer
February 16, 2011

As Media, Pa. promotes itsef as “America’s First Fair Trade Town,” Seven Stones Cafe was the scene of Cabrini’s discussion on how to include Fair Trade within the Justice Matters core curriculum.

Alumni spent time at a discussion on social justice, led by communication professor Jerome Zurek at Seven Stones Café in Media, Pa., on Thursday, Feb. 10.  The discussion included the idea of implementing Fair Trade as a social issue that should be included into the Justice Matters core curriculum.

Zurek believes the Justice Matters program will provide Cabrini students with the most powerful and practical core education available at any college in the world.

“Individual parts of the core curriculum can be found elsewhere,” Zurek said.  “But the sum total will prepare Cabrini students in a unique way for what they will face in the 21st century.”

The goal of the college is to “develop real-world problem solvers,” according to Zurek.

The Justice Matters program achieves this partly with Engagements with the Common Good (ECG) classes, which address and raise awareness of major problems in society.  These problems may be on a local level, from affecting people in a neighboring town, to problems on a global scale.

“Look at the example of students who have worked in the Inside/Out Prison course and have developed proposals to facilitate prisoner re-entry into society,” Zurek said.  “Look at the students who have developed material to educate teachers about how to spot the results of domestic violence in the classrooms.”

“There were graduates from the ‘70s and people who graduated just five years ago. All of them seemed equally engaged in the theme of Cabrini and the Justice Matters curriculum,” Kelsey Kastrava, junior communication major, said.

From first-hand experience woven into it, the ECG class focuses on dating and domestic violence and teaches the statistics about this problem.  It also covers the societal ideas about the roles of men and women in relation to domestic violence incidents.

Students are able to become advocates for victims of domestic violence, helping them to make informed choices to protect themselves.

“The opportunity to speak with former Cabrini students about their experiences with social justice and tell them the stories of our own experiences was so interesting,” Kastrava said.

Such a class is also an example of how the Justice Matters program is not simply in theory format, teaching by the textbook.  The knowledge a student gains through the program’s courses can be applied to a real-world situation.

“These examples and countless other examples show how Cabrini students can and will tackle new problems with creative insight and an educated heart,” Zurek said.

According to the Cabrini website’s academic section on the core curriculum, 3-credit ECG classes are offered at the freshman, sophomore and junior level.  The academic section of Cabrini’s website states that for senior year, students work on a capstone course involving a project that incorporates their major.

With a large banner displayed near the cafe referencing Media, Pa., as “America’s First Fair Trade Town,” Seven Stones Café was a choice location to discuss social justice.

For those who have never been there, Seven Stones Café has a lot of creativity from the artwork on display to the food available.  You can connect with them on social network websites such as Facebook and MySpace.

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Carol Dwyer

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