BY CHRIS KERR | June 13, 2013
In September 2008 the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh sparked a new initiative in the U.S. by announcing its commitment to be a Fair Trade University, part of UWOSH’s effort “to do its part toward ending trade injustices that result in millions of people living in poverty.” This sentiment has been echoing across campuses nationally, and, inspired by the example set by UWOSH, colleges, universities, and high schools across the country are stepping up to promote social justice and economic empowerment for farmers, workers, artisans and their families in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2012, Creighton University became the first Jesuit university to earn Fair Trade College & University status. Other Jesuit schools currently working toward the elite status include Canisius College, Fordham University, John Carroll University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago, Marquette University, and St. Joseph University.
The interview above features Parker Townley, national coordinator for the Fair Trade Colleges and Universities movement. Parker is a graduate of Gonzaga University and also spent a semester at Santa Clara University’s Casa de Solidaridad program in El Salvador.
“Recent Stories about Fair Trade efforts at Jesuit Universities:”
Going from free trade to fair trade (Canisius College – The Griffin – March 7, 2013)
Students at Fordham University bring fair trade to the Bronx (Fordham University – September 7, 2012)
Fair Trade Awareness Week at John Carroll University (ISN Blog – April 30, 2013)
Students initiate campus-wide Fair Trade (Loyola Marymount – The Loyolan – February 4, 2013)[/box]
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.