LMU students, who have been supported by the Center of Service and Action (CSA), are leading the initiative to establish LMU as a certified Fair Trade campus.
According to the official Fair Trade website, Fair Trade USA is an organization dedicated to “[enabling] sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits the farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth.”
Some members of ASLMU and students in LMU service organizations are passionate about integrating the Fair Trade USA mission into the LMU community. As a result, they are coming together to educate the student body on the importance of making the switch to Fair Trade products on campus.
Part of Fair Trade’s mission is to create the “conscious consumer,” which they believe will cause a “fundamental shift in the way companies do business and create a historic opportunity to reward companies that embrace sustainability,” as stated on their website.
Kellie Rowan, a junior multimedia arts major, is a service organization representative on the Fair Trade initiative committee. She elaborated on this notion when she said, “Students can go and buy coffee and be doing a good deed. They don’t even have to think about it.”
Tom King, the assistant director of campus service, emphasized that the campus shift will largely rely on the student body’s response. Although the project is still in its beginning stages, the student response has been positive.
Junior communication studies major Samantha Mallory said, “LMU’s mission is to stand for justice, so why wouldn’t we take a stand and switch to Fair Trade products?”
LMU currently serves Fair Trade coffee and chocolates in the Lion’s Den, as well as products in U-Hall’s Lion’s Corner Cafe.
However, the students are aiming to further the coffee project to ensure all departments and offices on campus are serving Fair Trade coffee, according to Corey Bigoni, a sophomore psychology and environmental science double major who is also working on this initiative.
Bigoni also explained that providing all Fair Trade- certified coffee at the University will be the first step of many to make the shift to a Fair Trade campus.
The students will be surveying the campus in the coming months to determine the ways that the University can improve, according to King.
Following the survey, students will work with the Fair Trade Toolkit – a template provided by the organization for students to get their schools certified – to empower their goal of making a difference on campus.
King said that the University of San Diego has recently been established as a Fair Trade-certified campus and hopes LMU will follow their lead.
The University was recently acknowledged by Fair Trade’s online platform for universities as an “in progress” campus, which recognizes that students are assembling to make the change.
LMU students are currently planning a Fair Trade Awareness week in April, and the first step for the student body is to support these events as well as to learn as much as they can about the organization, King claimed.
“The stronger the student response, the better claim we can make to the administration for more Fair Trade products on campus,” said Bigoni.
Bigoni, Rowan and King are all eager for students to join the initiative on campus.
“We really want this to happen. The more school support, the better,” said Rowan.
Rowan further acknowledged that educating students about the impact of becoming a certified Fair Trade campus will embody LMU’s commitment to service.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to educate students about issues that are occurring around the world,” Rowan said. “Rather than just talking about an issue, we are doing something about it. This whole initiative will inspire people to do more good.”