Saint Mary's College of California announces it has achieved a Fair Trade Status designation. Saint Mary's received the designation from Fair Trade Colleges & Universities, an initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns, a national collective of social justice institutions, such as Catholic Relief Services, Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade USA and Green America, that are committed to increasing fairness and sustainability in global trade. The College is currently the only institution of higher education in Northern California to have received the distinction.
"This recognition reflects not only the College's Catholic and social justice mission, it illustrates our ongoing commitment to promoting economic fairness globally and educating our students about the importance of fair trade policies," said Saint Mary’s President James Donahue.
Saint Mary's attained its fair trade status by reaching specific goals, including the availability of fair trade products on its campus, ongoing educational programs for students about fair trade, a dedicated fair trade committee, using fair trade products at academic and athletic events and meetings and a resolution to maintain fair trade policies at the College from institutional leadership.
Saint Mary's president will receive a certificate designating the College’s status from a representative from Fair Trade Colleges & Universities at 12 p.m. Friday, May 2, 2014 during the College’s Fair Trade and Social Justice Festival. The festival will be held at Saint Mary's College of California, 1928 St. Mary's Road, Moraga, CA, 94556. The Fair Trade and Social Justice Festival, which is free and open to the public, is part of the College’s weeklong celebration of the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, patron saint of teachers, founder of the Christian Brothers and the College's Lasallian heritage and mission.
Over the past three years, Sister Jodi Min, OP, Saint Mary’s fair trade committee chairperson and assistant director of Lasallian Mission in the College’s Mission and Ministry Center, has coordinated the College’s fair trade initiatives. “Embracing fair trade as an institution gives us an opportunity to educate our College community about how purchasing fair trade products supports fair wages and labor practices in other parts of the world,” she said.
Min added that support for fair trade efforts has been campus-wide, with many professors, department offices, campus outlets and students eager to support the movement. “Given the level of support at the College, I have no doubt that Saint Mary's will continue to be a leader in supporting Fair Trade,” she said.
In addition to holding monthly Fair Trade Fridays, where products from artisans from across the globe are available for purchase by community members in the College’s Mission and Ministry Center, Sodexo, Saint Mary's food service supplier and partner in campus sustainability efforts, uses ethically sourced coffee for all catering for academic and athletic events and in the student cafeteria and cafe.
The College will join more than a dozen other institutions of higher education across the nation, including Creighton University, Indiana University and Villanova University, which have been recognized for their commitment to fair trade and international justice. For more information about Saint Mary's fair trade status, contact Sister Jodi Min at (925) 631-4075 or by email at [email protected]. For more information about Fair Trade Colleges & Universities visit fairtradecampaigns.org.