We’re a Fair Trade Campus

 

Fair Trade

Neumann University has been recognized as a Fair Trade campus by Fair Trade Colleges and Universities. Fair Trade is a global marketplace model that advocates for the purchase and sale of goods that were produced in an ethical, fair, and just manner.

 

Neumann is the 24th college in the United States and the 5th in Pennsylvania to be awarded Fair Trade status.

 

According to the Fair Trade website, “Products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. We're a nonprofit, but we don't do charity. Instead, we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage.”

 

Earning Fair Trade status formally acknowledges that Neumann completed five steps to embed fair trade principles and practices into the university’s policies and the social and intellectual life of campus. These steps included offering Fair Trade products through the university food service, holding educational events on campus, and obtaining an institutional commitment to the concept of Fair Trade.

 

According to Parker Townley, national organizer for the college movement, “Neumann has been actively working to become a Fair Trade university since January 2013.” The roots of the interest in Fair Trade, however, stretch back to 2006.

 

Eight years ago, the campus ministry team of Melissa Hickey and Michael D’Angelo began discussions with Sodexho food services about Fair Trade coffee and tea being offered in all of the food outlets on campus.¬†From 2006 to 2012, campus ministry student leaders staffed Fair Trade tables and educational events. In 2012, twenty-one student leaders from campus ministry and the student government association were trained as Catholic Relief Services ambassadors. At that time, the students chose to work on gaining Fair Trade status as their project.

 

The list of fair trade items sold on campus has grown to include sugar, chocolate, bananas, teas, and various craft items. Administrators, faculty, staff, and students joined the efforts to make fair trade a concept that is now fully supported on campus.

 

According to Sr. Marguerite O’Beirne, OSF, vice president for mission and ministry, “As a Catholic Franciscan institution of higher education, Neumann University has a responsibility to lead its students to a deeper understanding of Catholic Social Teaching. Becoming a Fair Trade campus signifies our commitment to the social teachings of the Church as we continue to shape conversation on issues of justice affecting the most vulnerable workers in developing countries.”

For more information about fair trade status, visit www.fairtradeuniversities.org.

 


5/30/14

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