Point Loma Passes Fair Trade Fund!

Parker Townley July 18, 2013


This May, 80% of the student body at Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA) voted to voluntarily increase their tuition by $3 per semester in the name of Fair Trade. This vote officially made Point Loma Nazarene (PLNU) the first university in the United States to voluntarily increase tuition rates for Fair Trade purposes.


What is a Fair Trade Fund?


PLNU is the first university in the USA to create a student-supported fund for Fair Trade efforts on campus

Money raised via the Fair Trade Fund (FTF), about $14,000 per year, will go towards fair trade initiatives on campus. These initiatives include purchasing fair trade beverages, food, clothing, fair trade educational materials, and fair trade events.

Excerpts from the text of the FTF read, “Purchasing Fair Trade falls in line with PLNU’s mission, vision, and core values. By demonstrating our commitment to responsible buying habits, we show our passion for justice, love, and responsibility…Funds would be first directed to subsidize the cost of Fair Trade coffee for departments interested in using Fair Trade coffee but do not have a large enough budget. Additional allocation can be discussed later but suggestions include Fair Trade chocolate and clothing.”

How did it come about?

PLNU Fair Trade Club Founder and President Andrew Schalin modeled the Fair Trade Fund off of the success of an earlier and similiar effort that created a ‘Green Fund’ to benefit sustainability initiatives on campus. Many universities have similar environmental funds, but PLNU was the first to do a fair trade fund. Given PLNU’s commitment to issues regarding social justice Schalin began making the case for a new fund to bolster the impact of efforts on campus and to hightlight Fair Trade.The PLNU Fair Trade Club knew it would be a long and involved process to pass a Fair Trade Fund. For the measure to come into effect, the Associated Student Body (ASB) Student Congress, ASB Board of Directors, PLNU Cabinet, Board of Trustees, and the student body of PLNU would all have to approve either by a majority or 2/3 vote. In the end all groups voted in favor of the idea, though only after significant engagement with numerous stakeholders on campus and a major education campaign.

How can it benefit the Fair Trade Movement?

Point Loma 2

Students at Point Loma got the word out about the benefits of Fair Trade to help pass a Fair Trade Fund

The Fair Trade Fund details implementation, but the according to Schalin, the vision of the fund was to allow freedom and flexibility from year to year to allow the students to use the money in whatever way they feel fit for the current year. Faculty members can sit on the board, but the board must be comprised of at least 51% students.

Should other campaigns take on the model of the Fair Trade Fund, there are potentially thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be raised. From the start the PLNU Fair Trade Club hoped that other schools would be able to see the value of these efforts and pass similar measures on their campuses.

Pass a Fair Trade Fund on YOUR Campus!

  • Read the orginal proposal by PLNU here
  • Questions? Contact National Organizer Parker Townley at: ptownley@fairtradeusa.org to learn more and get in contact with the PLNU Fair Trade Club


One Comment

  1. […] This last year students at Point Loma Nazarene University voted in favor of increasing tuition by $3 a semester for a new “Fair Trade Fund.” To win this referendum, students from the PLNU Fair Trade club worked to enroll a wide range of on-campus organizations, including the Associated Student Body and the PLNU Board of Trustees.  The new fund will provide funding for on-campus Fair Trade purchasing and awareness projects and controlled by a diverse board, that’s 51% students. Get ready for more of these unique referenda popping up across the country! […]

You must log in to join the discussion. If you are not already a member registering is easy.

Parker Townley, National Organizer | Fair Trade Colleges & Universities

Parker Townley works for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities to help connect students and faculty with the resources they need to effectively campaign for Fair Trade on campus. In his free time Parker explores the Sierra Nevadas with his trusty backpack, roams the Bay Area in search of the perfect cup of coffee, and cultivates a small veggie garden.