Buying items from almost any store offers up very little reason to question who made it and where and how it was made. However the Students for Fair Trade at California Lutheran University make it their business to know answers to all those questions and more.
Now, what is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is the practice of improving trade conditions for developing countries to ensure an ethical standard is set. It also seeks to improve conditions to promote equity and just conditions for all.
Present on campus for over three and half years, the Students for Fair Trade have been vying for that same standard to be applied at Cal Lutheran.
“Our mission is to educate students, staff and faculty about the importance of the purchasing power of Fair Trade products,” organization president Jessamine Gilman-Vorm said.
In order to educate students, Gilman-Vorm and the President that preceded her offer many events for everyone on campus such as tabling events in which questions are readily answered and Fair Trade themed pens, Chap Stick and more are available.
Fair Trade themed events are present on campus as well in the form of events like Fair Trade Your Valentines and Fair Trade Fair every year, in with the fair happening in November, according to Gilman-Vorm.
What is new for this year is the sustainability this organization has gained through donations and their own checkbooks up until this point, according to Gilman-Vorm.
“We are now able to buy the goods we have wanted to get to give the students of Cal Lu so we can actually better educate everyone,” Gilman-Vorm said.
In this process, it takes writing a resolution from Cal Lutheran to cross the t’s and dot the i’s associated with making this a full-fledged organization on campus.
After this is all done, what they must do is integrate at least two fair trade products in each of the campus retailers.
In Starbucks, Fair Trade coffee is available for purchase upon request along with Fair Trade honey and sugar packets in the Ullman facilities and the Centrum. Gilman-Vorm also stated that the Campus Store carries a line of Fair Trade sweatshirts called Alta Garcia for $20.
The goal of this organization has been to inform and enlighten any of those who feel they want to become part of it or just want to abide by their own ethical standards.
“I feel I have tried my best to reach out and spread awareness to people but I would have liked to have reached more people,” manager of social media Kayla Gamache said.
Being a part of this organization for about two years, Gamache has been invested in the idea of fair trade practices for much longer.
“I try to talk about Fair Trade as much as possible when it’s the right context and when I see a person eating a chocolate bar, I suggest there is a Fair Trade version. That’s the best way I’ve found and especially not to make people feel bad about it,” Gamache said.
People like Gamache and Gilman-Vorm have been reaching out to people to mostly learn and possibly join.
This year, Liz Lawrence joined the Fair Trade club, and she said it reflects her ethical standpoint.
“I feel very strongly about Fair Trade and having people get fair wages in different areas of the world and I felt I could help promote it,” Lawrence said.
Thanks to the Students for Fair Trade, Cal Lutheran students now have an organization that appeals to both on-campus life through the products available and the information they are disseminating in their events.
Published March 9th, 2016