We’ve been checking in with Ben Conard, president of the Fair Trade Club at SUNY Geneseo as they work towards becoming a Fair Trade University. There are many steps and it takes a fair amount of dedication from both the administration and students. Ben’s been filling us in on their progress and here’s an update on their campaign over the last year.
Be sure to check out Ben’s other updates:
Since becoming a student organization on campus, the Fair Trade Club at SUNY Geneseo has spearheaded its Fair Trade University campaign with the goal of increasing fair trade awareness and ultimately, impact. To do so, the club has been actively meeting, working with on-campus dining services, hosting events, teaching about fair trade, and working with the administration to see where fair trade can be incorporated on campus.
Some of our most exciting accomplishments and events for the 2014-2015 academic year are pictured below. These can give you some ideas of the kinds of fair trade events you can do.
- The Books & Bytes Cafe now serves all fair trade coffee
- The book store now carries some fair trade apparel
- We had a chocolate tasting with Eco House, an eco-friendly residence hall on campus
- We hosted a study break with fair trade treats and coffee
- We sent holiday letters to Latin American cocoa farmers
- We hosted an event making tie-dyed tees with fair trade tea refreshments
- The Juggling Club Street Fair served fair trade BarkThins and Divine Chocolate
- We sent Valentine’s to fair trade producer groups
- The Spanish Club hosted a fair trade chocolate tasting
- We had a fair trade bracelet sale
- We hosted a welcome back bracelet sale with chocolate samples
- Mayan Hands send us a thank you note after we sold their friendship bracelets
- The Fair Trade Club had a fair trade food party
- We sent thank you letters to cocoa farmers in Latin America
- The school mascot got involved to show his support of the Fair Trade Club
- At another fun event we drizzled popcorn with fair trade chocolate
In addition to these fun events, we hosted an Indian block printing party giving away 75 free fair trade t-shirts and teaching students not only how to block print but the important history behind it!
We also collaborated with President Long in hosting a number of informal tea gatherings where fair trade tea was served at her house! For Multilingualism night, the German Club worked with us to hand out Divine Chocolate – which is fair trade and made in Germany! And for Global Village week, Fair Trade Club was able to share how fair trade relates to issues spread around the world.
Lastly, I was honored to speak about fair trade at Geneseo’s first ever TEDx event (watch here) as well as to the Chief Justice of Ghana on GREAT Day (Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement, & Talent).
What a fun-filled year it has been! As the club grows on campus, I think we have an incredible opportunity to continue to create impactful change as we promote fair trade. Stay tuned as we will hopefully be earning our fair trade university status soon!
President, Fair Trade Club