Sr. John working to make Marywood a fair trade campus

Sr. John working to make Marywood a fair trade campus

Briana Ryan

Marywood may soon follow suit with many college campuses that are making a point to use primarily fair trade products. Fair trade means producers of these products are paid a fair price for their items.

The fair trade campaign that began in the United Kingdom is now a globally recognized grassroots movement to bring awareness of the issue to colleges and universities.

Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Sr. John Michele Southwick, IHM, said she is in communication with the fair trade campaign to help Marywood become classified as a fair trade campus. Southwick said the public’s lack of knowledge of fair trade is what led her to start the campaign on campus.

“I thought that leading the push for the university to hold the fair trade title would be a great way to help spread the word,” said Southwick.

The first step that campuses must make to be classified as fair trade is to build a fair trade committee. Southwick is currently working with Mackenzie MacNeal, a senior advertising and public relations major, to help get more students involved with the campaign.

“I’m bringing more of a realistic approach to the campaign,” said MacNeal. “I’m working with Sr. John to help her figure out what students would and wouldn’t get behind.”

The next step is to reach out to at least two campus outlets to have two fair trade products available at the venues. Southwick said this step has been simple.

“It’s been pretty easy to gather support from outlets on campus because a lot of them are already selling fair trade items,” said Southwick. “Now, there just needs to be a push to help bring in more items.”

Southwick said Chartwells, the bookstore and Campus Ministry all sell fair trade items like Electric City Coffee, Pepsi products, Aquafina water, barkTHINS and Serrv Divine Chocolate. The bookstore will also begin selling Alta Gracia brand t-shirts in the fall.

The campus must also serve fair trade items in offices, meetings and events. Southwick said Campus Ministry serves San Lucas Guatemalan fair trade coffee at meetings.

Additionally, Marywood must use resources to help spread education about fair trade. Southwick said she is working on hanging posters to help spread awareness.

Finally, a fair trade resolution must be passed by the university. Southwick said Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D is supportive of signing the resolution.

“When I brought a rough draft of the proposal to her she seemed very supportive. However, I did tell her that a lot of work still needs to be done before an official proposal is presented,” said Southwick.

Southwick said she hopes becoming a fair trade campus will help set an example of social responsibility.

“To adopt this title would be a fantastic opportunity for the university to reaffirm our core value of service,” said Southwick.

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Twitter: @BrianaRyanTWW