A Fair Trade campus

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) are working with the University of Manitoba to become a fair trade designated campus. If successful, we would be one of only a few campuses across Canada to receive this designation, and it’s important everyone knows what “fair trade” means and what this designation means for our campus.

What does “fair trade” mean?
Fair trade is a different way of doing business. It emphasizes principles of fairness and decency in the marketplace, which translates into better deals for farmers and producers and the promotion of long-term and meaningful trading relationships. Fairtrade Canada notes that fair trade “is a way for all of us to identify products that meet our values so we can make choices that have a positive impact on the world.”

Why should we become a fair trade campus?
Becoming a fair trade campus provides an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Manitoba to make a real impact on our community and the global marketplace. By paying attention to what we are buying and the conditions of those who are making it, we are able to engage our university community in creating a wide scale and long standing social change in attitude and behaviour. It also highlights our campus as a world leader in fair trade purchasing and makes a statement of our values to others in the global community.

How do we become a fair trade campus?
In order to receive designation as a fair trade campus, we must meet the three standards of availability, visibility, and committee:

Requires a campus provide the following: 100 per cent fair trade certified coffee, three fair trade certified tea options, and one fair trade certified chocolate bar option.

Requires making these changes known to the university community (students, staff, faculty) as well as to the general public.

Requires the formation of a committee to ensure a cross-section of community stakeholders are engaged in the process of creating a fair trade campus. The committee will meet on a regular basis to challenge and grow the meaning of fair trade campus within the university community.

When will we become a fair trade campus?
UMSU and EWB have made terrific progress in advocating with the University to meet the standards to become a fair trade campus. We are planning to meet all of the requirements by January 2013, and then apply for official designation from Fairtrade Canada.
If you are interested in becoming a part of this important work, join the Fair Trade Campus Working Group through the following ways:

Email: fairtradeuofm@gmail.com or fairtrade@umsu.ca
Follow on twitter: @FairTradeUofM
Visit on Facebook: www.facebook.com/universityOfManitobaFairTradeCampus
Get info on the UMSU Website: www.umsu.ca/about-umsu-umsumenu-2/campaigns-umsumenu-15/fair-trade

Bilan Arte is the president of the University of Manitoba Student’s Union. Kyra Nia is the fair trade executive with Engineers Without Borders at the University of Manitoba.