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How to Become a Fair Trade University: An Inside Look

late night snack

Hi!  I’m Ben – I work at Fair Trade Winds Stony Brook and I’m a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo.  I recently wondered how Geneseo could become a fair trade university and am in the process of learning how.  A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a Fair Trade Campaigns conference for the New England Region.  Fair Trade Campaigns is a special program dedicated to the support of both the Fair Trade Colleges & Universities Campaign, and the Fair Trade Towns Campaign.  As a member of the campaign it is my goal to establish and earn fair trade status for my school.

suny geneseo

To become a Fair Trade University my school must accomplish five goals:

1) Create a Team – there is an inherent strength in numbers

2) Reach out to Campus Outlets – providing fair trade options on campus (coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, bananas, artisan products, etc.) is perhaps the most obvious implementation of fair trade standards on campus

3) Commit to Fair Trade at Events & Meetings – hosting events where fair trade products are available is a great way to spread the word and show your campus’ support

4) Commit to Fair Trade Education – after all this is college!  Having a class taught on campus about fair trade and/or hosting educational events about fair trade is an important aspect in the process.

5) Pass a Fair Trade Resolution – a promise and plan for future implementation of fair trade standards on campus in order to uphold our fair trade status over time.

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At the conference I represented SUNY Geneseo and a representative from SUNY Albany attended the conference as well.  As pioneers for fair trade implementation in the SUNY system we are excited to collaborate together.  Many schools were present which was great to experience because we are all very like-minded individuals!

So far this year we have attended the conference, kept our eyes open for fair trade products on campus and participated in a photo contest with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (Ben & Jerry’s donates the proceeds from their Jimmy Fallon Late Night Snack flavor to the Fair Trade Universities Campaign) – YUM!  Looking forward to more fair trade happenings on campus!

cheers to fair trade
Interested in earning fair trade status for your school or town?  Take the initiative!  Visit http://www.fairtradeuniversities.org  or http://fairtradetownsusa.org to get started!

Happy fair trading!

— Benjamin Conard

SUNY Geneseo Fair Trade Colleges & Universities Initiator/Leader

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