BY ISN STAFF | April 30, 2013
written by: Grace Donnelly, John Carroll University
The week of April 15th our Fair Trade Committee at John Carroll University held our fair trade awareness week. We organized the week as a kickoff to our efforts with Fair Trade Colleges and Universities to make the campus fair trade. Our goal for the week was to make the campus aware of our campaign and to gain support for our effort over the next few years.
We began the week with an Open Mic Night organized by our sustainability club Green Streaks. At the event we set up a tasting in which students tasted the difference between Equal Exchange Coffee, hot cocoa and chocolate, Hershey’s chocolate, Folgers coffee and Swiss Miss hot cocoa. Tasters were challenged to guess which was fair trade, and while some were were stumped, many knew the answer instantly. The Open Mic Night was a great way to celebrate sustainability and fair trade on campus while highlighting students’ musical and comedic talents.
In our Student Center and during each of our events we set up a table with information on fair trade along with promotional pins and stickers. Social media was an essential piece of the week, and we used it to both promote events and educate the campus on fair trade. For example, we posted images explaining the process our coffee goes through before it is poured into our mug, and ones comparing the distribution of profit to a fair trade coffee grower and a non-fair trade coffee grower. These posts reached more than our usual 300-400, and were seen by thousands of fellow students and people within their networks.
Throughout the week we wanted to reach out to as many groups as possible. On Thursday we held a Greek letter making night at which we gave members of Greek life free shirts from Alta Gracia. Green Streaks supported us throughout the week and attended many of our events. The Cubby (fair trade coffee shop on campus) promoted our events and provided donations of delicious cookies and brownies. The gracious support of these groups gave us hope for the future of our campaign in the coming years.
Our biggest event during Fair Trade Week was the fair trade fashion show. John Carroll students and staff modeled clothes from Revive, a local fair trade store. The show was set up in our student center during the two busiest times for lunch, and models walked and danced down the catwalk to salsa music and cheers from the John Carroll community.
This week has pushed John Carroll students to look at their cup of coffee, chocolate bar, and t-shirts, and think about where it came from. I hope our committee’s efforts in the coming years will help the John Carroll community understand the great impact their consumerism has on the world. The week was a great success and we are excited for next year!