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Fordham University Becomes Newest CEPA Partner

CEPA-partnered T-shirts and hoodies on sale at the Fordham bookstore

BY ISN STAFF | May 16th, 2024

The Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance (CEPA) has welcomed Fordham University as the newest Bookstore Partner in the alliance. CEPA aims to connect Catholic institutions with ethical and sustainable producers for merchandise and spiritwear needs. CEPA also provides education and leadership opportunities for campus leaders in ethical purchasing, reflecting the Catholic and Jesuit values of the institution.  

CEPA-partnered T-shirts and hoodies on sale at the Fordham bookstore

CEPA-partnered T-shirts and hoodies on sale at the Fordham bookstore

The products in the bookstore are made from a regionalized supply chain in the United States. The t-shirts were printed, dyed, and finished at TS Designs, where transparency and a localized supply chain are prioritized. Each shirt has a QR code on the tag neckline that, when scanned, displays where the shirt traveled from. This includes where the fibers were grown to the finished product, all of which is done in the southeast part of the U.S. The hoodies are made by Bayside in California with a localized supply chain, cutting the carbon emissions rate substantially compared to an average t-shirt or hoodie. 

Fordham business student learning how to sew a tote bag

A Fordham business student learns how to sew a tote bag on the immersion trip.

Fordham has been a longtime CEPA partner before making an institutional commitment to ethical purchasing through the bookstore. Specifically, the Gabelli School of Business has been sending students on immersion trips to CEPA partners at the Carolina Textile District in Morganton, North Carolina, for the past two years.  

The immersions to the Carolina Textile District have allowed students to learn more about how the supply chain of clothes works and how a regionalized supply chain supports workers and the environment. Students have toured facilities, experienced what cooperative models look like, and learned about the specific region serving them. They also learned about the history of the textile industry and its impact on the community. These immersions have allowed students to connect the Jesuit values and mission of their institution with their purchasing efforts, which are put into practice through CEPA. 

Hannah Davey, a business student at the Gabelli School of Business, participated in an immersion to the Carolina Textile District and saw the need for Fordham University to live into their values through their purchasing, “After visiting The Industrial Commons in North Carolina this past winter, I was taught the importance and value of investing in ethically made clothing. Fordham University’s commitment through CEPA to ethically sourced spirit wear signifies a dedication to integrity and social responsibility. It reflects a conscious effort towards making positive impacts beyond the campus, resonating with my beliefs and many other students on Fordham’s campus.”

By offering ethically sourced products in the bookstore that focus on people and the planet, Fordham, along with six other Catholic institutions, has made an institutional commitment to put their values into action by offering them in the bookstore. Vanessa Rotondo, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Office of the President, has worked at bringing ethically sourced products to Fordham’s campus over the past year and echoes this commitment. “At Fordham, we’re thrilled to offer sustainably sourced Fordham wear in our University bookstore, reflecting our commitment to sustainability. This is one step forward in our quest for social justice, in service of and with our partners who helped create these products.”

We are excited to continue growing the CEPA program at Fordham University with on-campus events and programming on ethical purchasing and Catholic Social Teaching. Please contact Grace Adams, CEPA coordinator, for more information and ways to get involved. 

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