Sustainable Leadership 101

Jackie Cummings February 18, 2016

Work Your Way Through Goal #1: Build Your Team

Goal #1 focuses on providing leadership and support for your campaign. To reach this goal you will need:

a minimum of 4 students and 1 non-student (faculty, staff, food service, etc)

As the academic year is slowly coming to an end, it is going to be extremely important to solidify and sustain your campaign within the Fair Trade movement.

For many campaigns, you’ll be SoCal Leadership Team 1experiencing change on your teams this Spring as some members graduate. For some of you, it might even be your current campaign leaders. The best way to tackle this issue and sustain your campaign’s momentum is through recruitment.

Recruitment is key:

Since it is the first of five goals to becoming a Fair Trade college/university, building a team of diverse members will help move your campaign towards declaration.  To begin developing a great team, power mapping is key.  Simply put, power mapping is the process of identifying who your allies and key decision-makers are on campus.  Who do you know?  Look at the existing relationships that you or members of your campaign have with these individuals.  Once you’ve identified who these folks are, then you can move into the next phase of power mapping: aligning your interests.  Outreach to individuals or groups to gauge how their interests align with your campaign’s mission and values and how you can support and strengthen each other’s efforts .


What’s in it for me?

An important part of recruiting new campaign members is to articulate what’s in it for me? It’s important to help new committee members understand the benefits of being involved in the Fair Trade movement. Aside from the obvious goals that many students have from the start, helping your campus become more sustainable and making a difference in the lives of farmers & artisans around the world, dig in a bit deeper. For instance: gaining valuable community organizing experience, resume building, networking, study abroad or immersion opportunities. There can also be academic benefits i.e students can earn credit for working on a Fair Trade campaign through programs like the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. See if your campus participates here. 


Partnering with other clubs and organizations on campus can also help to guide and provide structure for campus organizing and advocacy – in this case, FAIR TRADE!  If your campus has social justice or sustainability policies and/or commitments, find out how your campaign can partner with these efforts.  Co-sponsoring events is not only a fun way to bring different groups on campus together, it also can lead to more attendance and participation at events. Thus, leading to more interest in your campaign! The Hartwick College campaign has partnered with their sociology club to host a fair trade coffeehouse for the past couple years.  The UMass Boston campaign plans on partnering with the Black Student Center in putting on a fashion show where textiles from Ten Thousand Villages will be utilized.

Get funded:

When building your team, consider how to establish a form of funding for events and giveaways. Consider becoming recognized as a club through the specific processes your campus has in place – such as Student Government or Student Senate.  With this funding, you’ll be able to provide some neat fair trade items for your fellow students.

When in doubt, bribe them with Fair Trade chocolate…

Who doesn’t like free giveaways, especially ones that are as ethical and delicious as Fair Trade chocolate? This is another great way to spread the word about Fair Trade to your fellow students. Free chocolate can be the key to their stomachs and their minds.  By attaching a blurb about what Fair Trade is and why it’s important, this technique can also help educate your peers on campus.

For more tips and case studies on building and maintaining your team, check out these resources!

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Jackie Cummings, 2015-2016 New England College & University Fellow

From Saranac Lake, NY, Jackie is a recent Hartwick College graduate (Sociology with Peace & Conflict Studies) who, alongside a few other students, spearheaded the Fair Trade movement there. Hartwick College achieved their recognition as a Fair Trade College in May of 2014. She is currently attending SUNY Albany/Rockefeller College for a Master’s in Criminal Justice and Certificate in International Health and Human Rights with the hopes of working in the international sector of human rights. She hopes to make a difference, big or small, with fair trade and human rights.