Rockhurst University becomes the first Fair Trade University in Missouri
Rockhurst University becomes the FIRST Fair Trade University in Missouri as of Thursday, November 10th, 2016. This is is an exciting event for the Rockhurst community. Students, faculty, and staff alike have advocated for Fair Trade for the past 15 years as a way to better live out Rockhurst’s Jesuit Core Values. Students formed the RU Fair Trade Initiative in the spring of 2015 to take the necessary steps to become an official Fair Trade Campus through Fair Trade Campaigns*.
Wondering what all this means? Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions!
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade means that the producers of goods are ensured fair wages, safe working conditions, reasonable hours, respect for the environment, no child labor, no discrimination, medical care, freedom to unionize, and fair wages. (See here for more information.)
What does it mean to be a Fair Trade Campus?
Being a Fair Trade Campus means that we support Fair Trade ideals and products. It involves five steps that must be met and upheld. First, we established a Fair Trade committee, which we refer to as the “RU Fair Trade Initiative.” Second, we have worked with Chartwells and the Bookstore to offer at least two Fair Trade products (e.g. coffee, tea, sugar, gifts) at each outlet on campus. Third, we have worked to serve Fair Trade products at campus meetings and events when possible. Fourth, we offer at least two educational events about Fair Trade per semester. And fifth, we have passed a Fair Trade Resolution through Student Senate that is supported by the university president, Fr. Curran. Our hope is that as awareness of Fair Trade products increases on campus, Fair Trade products will become more prevalent and accessible at Rockhurst. This is just the beginning!
Are Fair Trade products more expensive?
Fair Trade products are often the same price or only slightly more than other products.If you see a slight increase in price, know that it is for a good cause. Any lower of a price would compromise either the wage of the worker or the necessary cost to keep their environment safe.
Will this mean prices will go up on campus?
According to Rockhurst CFO Gerald Moench, committing to Fair Trade on campus will not result in financial strain to Rockhurst. Additionally, the Fair Trade Resolution, passed by the Student Senate and signed by University President, Fr. Curran, emphasizes that decisions made are not to jeopardize costs.
How can I help?
Follow us on social media, “RU Fair Trade”, come to Fair Trade Educational Events, buy Fair Trade products when possible, and advocate for Fair Trade at Rockhurst, in your organizations, and in the greater community. And come celebrate with us Thursday at 5 pm in the Massman Fishbowl!
*Fair Trade Campaigns is an organization who works to officially recognize schools, towns, and congregations in “the US for embedding Fair Trade practices and principles into policy, as well as the social and intellectual foundations of their communities” (fairtradecampaigns.org).
By: Senator and RU Fair Trade Initiative Coordinator, Beverly Ziegler