Fair Trade Campus Life Must Haves

Fair Trade Campaigns August 22, 2022

By Claire Fitzgerald

Leaving home for the first time can feel incredibly daunting. One simple way to make your home-away-from-home feel like a comfortable escape that’s all your own is by personalizing your dorm room/living space with decorations and quality products that reflect your values. 

As you get to decorating this year, think about choosing fair trade products wherever possible. When you choose fair trade, you endorse an economic system that provides opportunities for farmers, artisans, and workers across the world to lift themselves out of poverty. You can feel confident that fair trade products were crafted in a way that improves lives and protects the environment.

Apart from the conscious consumer aspect, fair trade products are high quality and last longer than the typical mass produced items that you see in many large retailers. This means you’ll get a product that you can love for a long time which is great for the environment, and your wallet.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fair trade swaps to spruce up your style on campus and in your dorm. 


Even if you’re not excited about the academic aspect of heading back to school, we think you’ll be able to get behind these fun fair trade backpacks, and between Terra Thread, Cotopaxi, and Patagonia, you’ve got 25+ colors to choose from.

Bonus: With every purchase of a Terra Thread Earth Backpack, receive a free mesh bag for the entire month of August 2022 (while supply lasts).

Pictured Products:

A – Sustainable Backpack in Mustard Yellow from Terra Thread

B – Refugio Daypack 26L in Tidepool Blue from Patagonia

C – Sustainable Backpack in Burnt Orange from Terra Thread

D – Bogota 20L Backpack – Del Día from Cotopaxi


Even if you’re a laptop-only note taker, it may be convenient to have a notebook handy to jot down any quick notes or thoughts.

Besides academic learning, you’ll also learn a lot about yourself during college. Living on your own and being exposed to more perspectives will push you to grow and teach you new things about yourself. Journaling is a great way to retain all that you are learning, as well as helping you take a step back and reflect on your experience.

A – Elephant Pooh Large Notebook Goldfinch from Fair Trade Winds

B – Sari and Leather Travel Journal from Ten Thousand Villages

C – Wandering Thoughts Journal from Ten Thousand Villages

D – Journal from Fair Trade USA

Pencil Cases

There’s something about new school supplies that can make you feel productive and organized. So grab a new pencil case and get that boost! And these pouches can be used for more than pencils – art supplies, makeup, toiletries…

A – Kantha Makeup Bag from Serrv International

B – Ramita Organic Cotton Pencil Case from Terra Thread

C – Canvas Cosmetic Bag – Honua Pouch from Terra Thread

D – Bataí Organic Cotton Pencil Bag from Terra Thread


Whether your day is full of classes, club meetings, intramural games, or all of the above, there’s one thing every college student has in common: you need to get some sleep. Even if you don’t always hit the full eight hours, having soft and comfy bedding can help you relax and get ready to tackle the next day.

And with Pottery Barn’s Fair Trade Certified bedding, you can sleep easy knowing that your purchase has meaning and value.

Pictured Products:

A – Xander Plaid Comforter & Sham from Pottery Barn

B – Emily & Meritt Pirate Stripe Sheet Set from Pottery Barn

C – Organic Crinkled Percale™ Sheets from Coyuchi

D – Organic Favorite Tee Sheet Set from Pottery Barn


That shirt is too clean for the hamper but too dirty for the dresser? Your friends are on the way and you don’t know where to toss your random items? Need a home for your fuzzy blanket? Where do you store all your shoes? You get the idea: these storage bins can brighten up your dorm room and keep your floor clear.

Pictured Products:

A – Asher Handwoven Seagrass Baskets from Pottery Barn

B – Kaleidoscope Basket (12”) from Ten Thousand Villages

C – Nesting Sari Baskets from Serrv International

D – Button Basket Mini from Global Mamas

Wall Hangings

Blank white wall? You deserve better than that. These small, easy-to-pack items can be hung up in no time and will brighten your space.

A – Felt Pennants (Dream) (Brave) from Fair Trade Winds

B – Breaking Dawn Chime from Fair Trade Winds

C – Rainbow Star Garland from Ten Thousand Villages

D – Starfall Chime from Fair Trade Winds

Looking for other ways to make an impact on campus?

See if your school has a Fair Trade Campaign and get involved. Fair Trade Colleges & Universities turn campuses into catalysts for change with the support of a nationwide network of students, staff and faculty. Campaigners challenge their institutions to live up to their commitments to sustainability and social justice. Campaigners also create awareness through a variety of ways – running fair trade markets, giving out free coffee, and inviting speakers to campus, to name a few. 

If your institution doesn’t have a campaign, send us a message and we’d love to help you get started! We’re stronger when we work together.

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Fair Trade Campaigns, National Organizer, Fair Trade Communities