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How to reach out to different school departments about expanding Fair Trade education?

Michael Billotti from Fair Trade Fordham University August 4, 2014

Does anyone have any first hand experience about talking with different university departments requesting them to use more fair trade products or expand their education into fair trade?

Community Answers

  1. Well, we visited a faculty, student gov’t, staff advisory meetings to talk to them about fair trade. Then I talked with our purchasing dept. to find out if they could enlist our vendors to at least let us know what they have that is fair trade and to offer it for sale to the college.
    The curriculum was already taking on courses that included fair trade – but having a good relationship with those professors I believe helps a lot.

  2. Hi Michael, At Indiana University we found that this was an overwhelming task. We had to go back and look at how departments and dorms, etc; made buying choices. Working with the Office of Sustainability, we found that 1) More sustainable products/choices needed to be indicated (and searchable) in the databases/options that departments use and that 2) there needs to be opportunities for those who do make environmentally conscious and fair trade choices to share their reasons why with other peers/decision makers (many times, the products are better and do not cost more!). These are some of the initiatives we hope to have influence with in our campaign.

    Mary Embry from Bloomington, Indiana - 3 years ago
  3. You might want to start with departments that have a natural affinity for
    Fair Trade. We have worked with our Peace Studies major and our African
    Studies major and they were both receptive to connecting Fair Trade to
    things that they were already teaching. We’ve also found a nice connection
    with a professor in the Economics department whose speciality is Resource
    Economics. The most important thing is to have students in the Fair Trade
    College group approach professors in person rather than just with an email.
    Good luck!

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