Colleges and Universities earning a Fair Trade “degree”? That is what we like to hear! St. Michaels has recently become the first college in Vermont to receive the Fair Trade University status. To get achieve this a resolution had to be passed by a faculty assembly and by the Student Association. The requirements for a Fair Trade college are that they must offer at least two Fair Trade food items at their dinning halls and host two Fair Trade events every semester. The school’s Fair Trade Committee has been promoters of this change and is now trying to educate students and faculty members on the benefit of buying Fair Trade. These students are also trying to get Fair Trade products in the books store which is a great idea! It isn’t just about buying Fair Trade coffee; it’s about finding ways to incorporate Fair Trade products into your everyday life.
St. Michaels isn’t the only the college that has decided to go Fair Trade. This February Manhattan college received their Fair Trade status as well. The school has worked for 5 years to expand their commitment to being socially responsible and it was a great reward to finally be certified. Sienna College is the third college in the U.S to be considered a Fair Trade University. They serve their students Fair Trade coffee, tea, chocolate, and sugar out of their dining establishments, college functions and in the department offices. The college also offers certified Fair Trade food and other handcrafts in the college store.
We applaud the colleges that have taken the steps to get become Fair Trade Universities and support the efforts of the colleges and universities that are trying to get there. Every step helps, and the more schools can educated students on the benefits of buying Fair Trade, the better! It is important to understand that this isn’t just a trend, providing fair wages, a safe working environment and rights to employees is something that should never go out of style.