Calling all Art Enthusiasts! The Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers are now collecting artwork from any student for the 2013 “Spring into Art” Exhibition to be held by the Media Arts Council in early May! The exhibit will feature artwork created by students from The Walden School, Penncrest High School, and Penn State Brandywine. Please consider submitting any original piece of artwork that reflects on what Fair Trade means to you. This is a great opportunity to get involved in the community and contribute to a meaningful cause. The deadline for submissions is on Friday, April 26th. If you are interested and would like more details, please contact Labanya Mookerjee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
I was trying to come up with a creative way for my students to review the information they learned this semester about Fair Trade. My classroom review became a Fair Trade crossword puzzle! I’m sharing it here with the world, and feel free to contact me for the answer key through the “Contact Us” tab at the menu across the top of the blog.
To complete the crossword puzzle, I strongly recommend having the Fall 2012/Issue 5 and Spring 2013/Issue 6 issues of For A Better World handy to search out some of the answers. Thank you, Fair World Project, for having such a great publication!
Crossword Puzzle (PDF file)
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
The Fair Trade TrailBlazers are thrilled to have a shout-out in the Spring 2013 issue of Fig Media, PA magazine! Thank you, Fig, for your kind words and recognizing the hard work of our students for the local Fair Trade community and beyond. And what an honor it is to be on the same page as Hal Taussig! If you don’t have a paper copy of the issue, flip to page 30 in this electronic version.
I feel so fortunate to be at a campus with some amazingly creative students that are not afraid to step up as leaders and take on a project that I myself was overwhelmed to even think about organizing (of course, I didn’t tell them that!).
Here were our ingredients….
- Fresh Artists – a nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia dedicated to saving artmaking for all children and creating real opportunities for children to be philanthropic.
- The Walden School – the nation’s first Fair Trade preK-8 school, recently designated a Fair Trade School in November 2011. our students gave a Fair Trade Show-and-Tell presentation at their school, and were eager to find a way to connect and collaborate on a future project.
- Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers – led this semester by our Fair Trade intern Labanya Mookerjee, Labanya successfully coordinated and organized the communications with Fresh Artists, The Walden School, campus maintenance and facilities, and the student volunteers to make this event the success that it was.
Our goal – have children at a local Fair Trade School create artwork on what Fair Trade means to them, bring that artwork to Penn State Brandywine for a Fair Trade-themed clothesline art sale, share/discuss their artwork with members of the Penn State Brandywine and greater communities, collect donations for the artwork, so that art supplies can be purchased for kids in the city of Chester that do not have any art supplies in their schools. (whew – quite a goal!)
We have reported on the events with a video in this post and an overall summary, and we encourage you to review these posts first to get a feel for what the event was and how it ran. In addition, here are some tips we felt were important to make note of during our preparations and execution of the event. We hope that our experience can help other campuses learn how to best host a Fair Trade-themed clothesline art sale!
- Get permission first! We CANNOT stress this enough! Since this event was going to involve bringing minor children to campus, we first contacted our business office, who then contacted the Office of Risk Management of the University. Because this was a Walden School event that was hosted at our campus, there were a series of forms that had to be signed by The Walden School and submitted to us and processed at least two weeks before the event. Warning – this process will take longer than you may think – get started EARLY on securing all the permissions/signatures you need. If you are just doing the event on campus with artwork by/for college students, then you should still check to see what rules may apply if your event is open to the general public from outside the campus.
- Get the word out. We created a logo, flyer, blog post, and did a social media blast to get the word out. We used our campus’s social media sites our own social media sites. Our local town’s Fair Trade committee was kind enough to spread the word and promote the event in their newsletter and on their social media sites. It worked! Although most of the visitors to the event were campus staff and students (although, we sent a special invitation to our Chancellor to attend – and she came!), at the end of the day, all pieces of the student artwork found a home, and Fresh Artists received $375 to purchase more art supplies for students in the city of Chester.
- Consider the time and location for the event. The best space for us to have the event on campus was a large student lounge, surrounded by benches and railings so we could easily keep the kids all sitting in one spot in front of their artwork on the clothesline, in a building with four classrooms off the lounge. We were originally going to have the event on an afternoon when no classes were held during the time the school kids could come and visit, but then, the date changed and we ended up with 60 preK-8th grade kids in a large lounge (where yes, the noise echoed) and classes taking place. Despite several attempts to keep the kids quiet, the children were just so thrilled to talk about their artwork and be at our campus. It was a struggle for me, because I wanted the kids to be excited and to be happy to be participating in the event, but I was sensitive to the classrooms and college students in their rooms. Fortunately, the campus faculty were very understanding when I explained what was going on. One faculty member even asked how her daughter’s school could become a Fair Trade School!
- Expand your volunteer base – connect with a faculty member/course. Early in the semester, we had a faculty member that teachers Introduction to Business ask if her students could help out with any of our Fair Trade events. Her students assisted last semester with our Go Bananas for Fair Trade and Alta Gracia T-shirt Swap events, and we were thrilled to have her students assist again! These volunteers were essential in helping hang up the artwork, helping the children get name tags when they arrived, distributing the cupcakes and beverages, etc. We used 20 student volunteers the day of the event, and I do not think we could have pulled this off with any fewer. This was also a great opportunity for us to spread the Fair Trade message to students in a freshman course and to grow our volunteer base. These students have been asking more and more questions about Fair Trade, and we bet we are going to see them at our future events!
- Have your volunteers easily identifiable to the children. We had all of our college volunteers wear the same Penn State t-shirt and name tags, so the children would know who was an official student helping with the event.
- Start the event with a short lecture/description of the event and ground rules. We wanted to make sure the kids knew the impact of not only “selling” their artwork and sharing it with others, but what the impact would be for other kids in the region. We showed the kids a video about Fresh Artists that also described the purpose of a clothesline art sale. Our twist was the Fair Trade theme! We also took the opportunity to remind the kids that they were still “in school” – no running in the halls, yelling, etc.
- Arrange for your mascot to stop by and visit. What kid doesn’t like a school mascot? We had our Nittany Lion come by at the beginning of the event. As you can imagine, the kids were thrilled! After doing some dance moves with the Lion, they posed for some photos, showed off their artwork, and then the Lion was on his way as our event continued.
- If you have young artists, have a snack. Since the event was after lunch, we decided to keep with the artistic theme and ordered several cupcake cakes, each with their own design. We had college student volunteers handle the cupcakes – they each wore plastic gloves (for sanitary purposes) and placed the cupcake in a bowl to catch the crumbs when the kids ate the cupcakes. It worked! We did not have a cupcake mess to clean up. We also had water, iced tea, and lemonade for the kids to drink.
- Not all of the young artists will want you to take their artwork home! Some of our campus staff were disappointed when they tried to “purchase” the artwork, and a child did not want to sell their creation! Some kids were so proud of their work that they wanted to keep the pieces themselves. The school principal promised these kids that she would take their pieces back and hang them in their school, which she has!
- There’s no need to put a price on the artwork – it is all priceless. We did not put a price on the pieces of art – we only had a basket out and asked for donations for the pieces. We figure that some college students might only be able to afford one dollar for a piece of art, while some adults could afford more. Our strategy of not setting prices was successful beyond our dreams! For approximately 70 pieces of art, we raised $375 – for Fresh Artists!
- Take lots of photos, and share the results. FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… we knew we could not take photos of minor children and post these images online, unless we had signed parental permission. (Legally, we could use photos that had the backs of the heads of children, or the faces blurred out.) Fortunately, we did have parental permission! As this event was a Walden School event, their school had the permission of all of the parents for pictures to be taken of their children, which allowed us to take the photos as well. Knowing that we had the permission in place to take photos of minors, we took pictures and tweeted them during the event and posted a collection of photos online. It’s a great way to document what we did and to share the results with others. We hope the conversation continues and people are inspired to try their own event after seeing and reading what we did!
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
On Thursday, February 21st, The Walden School joined forces with the Fair Trade Trailblazers at Penn State Brandywine to host the Fair Trade Art Sale for Fresh Artists. The event was a huge success, raising over $375 to support art programs in Chester schools and engaging the community in a vibrant discussion on all things fair trade!
The event began with a short presentation on the important work that Fresh Artists does in the community. Here is a short feature clip from 6abc news on Fresh Artists:
With hearts full of excitement and anticipation, we finally moved on to the art display, where all the students stood by their artwork, explaining the meaning of their pieces to everyone who passed by. We all even had a chance to enjoy fair-trade and Fresh-Artists themed cupcake cakes!
The event was such a great way to keep the conversation going about the importance of fair trade in the community – the enthusiasm and creativity of The Walden School students brought fresh energy to the dialogue!
Here are a few more pictures from the event:
Contributed by Fair Trade Intern, Labanya Mookerjee
This is my last post as the Fair Trade Intern on campus. I graduated Penn State Brandywine on December 21st and will be moving on with life. This semester as the Fair Trade Intern has meant a lot to me. I feel closer to my school more than ever. A lot of great things were accomplished and I hope next semester goes even better. The Fair Trade movement on the Brandywine campus grows all of the time and I have faith in our students, faculty, and staff to continue its growth.
Thank you to Pam and Nick from the cafeteria for helping get Fair Trade food on campus. Thanks to Prof. Olear and her students for helping out at our Go Bananas and Fair Trade T-shirt Swap events. Thank you everyone who helped us this semester, and to everyone that participated in our events, we could not have come this far without your support, and thanks to Dr. Guertin for getting me involved in the first place.
I will certainly miss working on campus and helping to make it a better place. I hope whoever fills my spot as the Fair Trade Intern will know just how lucky they are to work with such great people for such a great cause.
- Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern
To read more about Louis, see his profile on our Laboratory for Civic Engagement website
If you did not make it to the Media Theatre on the evening of December 17, please allow us to share a recap with you of a very special evening. On this chilly Monday evening, Labanya Mookerjee and I headed to The Walden School‘s Holiday Sing-A-Long to hear the preschool, elementary, and middle school students perform some beautiful songs. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing these children and seeing them perform songs such as Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney, Hanukkah Festival, and The Peace Song.
But looking down the front row of the theater, anyone in the Fair Trade community would have known that something else was going to happen this evening – something significant, something exciting! Seated down the row were myself and Labanya of Penn State Brandywine, Elizabeth Killough of the Media Fair Trade Town Committee, Hal Taussig (Media’s Fair Trade pioneer), Mary Le Fever (Walden School’s founder), Monica Simpson of the Media Borough Council… and the list goes on!
The evening started with Walden’s Head of School, Mary McKeon (pictured above, left), and Assistant Head of School, Carly Tolson (pictured above, center), making an announcement that (drumroll, please….) The Walden School has been officially granted status as the nation’s first Fair Trade School for pre-K through 8th grade! Monica Simpson came on to the stage to make the presentation of the official certificate from Fair Trade Universities (who oversees all school campaigns).
To view a video of the Fair Trade announcement, please click here.
Congratulations, The Walden School! Penn State Brandywine looks forward to connecting and collaborating with you on future Fair Trade awareness, education, and advocacy events.
- Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
Although the year 2012 has not yet ended, the Fair Trade TrailBlazers of Penn State Brandywine have much to be thankful for this year.
We are thankful for our Penn State Brandywine community that supported us becoming a Fair Trade University. Without our students, staff, faculty, and alumni taking the time to learn about Fair Trade and agreeing that Fair Trade is significant and important for us to connect with, we would not have been able to establish such a strong community of passionate people that are continuing to educate others and using their purchasing power to make a difference.
We are thankful for Hal Taussig and America’s First Fair Trade Town. Would Fair Trade even be here without Hal pursuing the idea of bringing Fair Trade Towns to the USA? Would we have any Fair Trade Towns without Media taking the first steps to gaining the approval? Would we at Penn State Brandywine have even considered becoming a Fair Trade University if Media wasn’t a Fair Trade Town? We thank those that are the true “trailblazers” for bringing Fair Trade to America.
We are thankful for the certifiers. Yes, you may not all get along, but we appreciate the challenges you offer each other. By keeping the conversation going, it keeps the Fair Trade discussion moving forward. Fair Trade has come far, but there is still so much further to go. All movements have growing pains, and we as a university value informative, detailed, constructive, and civil discussions of all sides of the issue of Fair Trade certification.
We are thankful for social media. OK, so this item may not seem like it fits in with the rest of what we are thankful for. But if it wasn’t for Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Flickr, etc., we would not have made our initial connections with Fair Trade Campaigns National Coordinator Billy Linstead Goldsmith, or Divine Chocolate’s Amanda White. We would not be exchanging tweets with Alta Gracia or other Fair Trade supporters from literally across the globe. Thank you, social media, for allowing our campus to be connected in a global conversation about Fair Trade.
Most importantly, we are thankful for the farmers and the makers of Fair Trade products. For the people that give so much of themselves to produce food and crafts ethically sourced that benefits not only their communities but our entire planet Earth – thank you for your tireless, beautiful work.
On November 14th, The Walden School in Media, PA, recieved their certificate declaring them a Fair Trade school! This makes The Walden School the first Fair Trade elementary school in the nation! The next day Dr. Guertin, Aimee Ralph, Lavanya Mookerjee, Zanya Stephenson, and I (Louis Donaghue) stopped by to give The Walden School’s students a presentation on Fair Trade. Once we got to the school, we found out that not only would we be presenting to the students, but that Hal Taussig would also be attending our presentation. Hal (seen in the photo below with our Nittany Lion) has been at the front of the Fair Trade movement in America since day one, and he is the reason Media, PA, is the first Fair Trade town in America. There certainly was a large amount of pressure added to our presenters due to Hal’s pressence, but it was really a honor to meet him and show him the impact of his hard work in his community.
The format of our presentation at The Walden School was to do a skit where Dr. Guertin was the teacher and the rest of us were students in her class, and that day was Fair Trade Show and Tell. We each brought in a Fair Trade product to talk about. First, Lavanya brought in a Dolma Fair Trade scarf and some jewelry made from the tagua nut by Minga Fair Trade Imports, then Aimee came in wearing her favorite banana suit to talk about Fair Trade bananas. Next, I came in with a Senda Athletics Fair Trade soccer ball, and lastly, the Nittany Lion arrived to hand out stickers we custom made. The kids were great and asked some fantastic questions about Fair Trade.
Thanks to everyone at Walden School for letting us visit and talk to your awesome students. We are very happy to have another Fair Trade school in the area! And thank you to Hal Taussig for coming out to see us – you made this experience even more special.
Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern
On Tuesday, November 13, at 11:30AM in the Tomezsko Classroom Building at Penn State Brandywine, co-founder Bill Glaab from Hand In Hand Soap came and talked to our students about his company. Hand In Hand Soap is a specialty soap company that uses Fair Trade ingredients in its product, and donates a bar of soap to a child living in Haiti every time you buy a bar of their high quality products. Bill and Courtney Glaab started Hand In Hand Soap less than two years ago, and the company has been growing ever since. Hand In Hand Soap focuses on donating their soap to Haiti because of the damage done to the country’s infrastructure as a result of recent natural diasters, including Hurricane Sandy. Because clean water is such a hard resource to have access to right now in Haiti, hygiene is extremely important when it comes to staying disease-free. And the worst part is the people who often suffer the most are children, with death tolls extremely high due to things like cholera which could be prevented with something as simple as a bar of soap. It is Hand In Hand’s vision to one day extend their reach to all parts of the globe in need.
Bill’s presentation at Penn State Brandywine focused on how Hand In Hand started and the company’s mission of providing people with sanitation challenges with the basic means to live healthier lives. Students also picked Bill’s brain for details and asked questions including how to run a small business such as his, what it has meant to him to be involved in such an impactful organization, and how do you manage to work side by side with your significant other. Bill was very open and rewarding as a speaker, he was not afraid to talk about past mistakes and life changing moments in his career.
Afterwards Bill sat down and had lunch with a small group of us while we casually talked about the influence of people like him and his wife. I think everyone walked away with something valuable after meeting with Bill, whether it was marketing tips, learning about Fair Trade, or becoming inspired to do something great yourself. Thanks to Courtney and Bill for helping further spread Fair Trade.
Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern
If you have been following our website, you’ll see posts by Dr. Guertin and her experiences at the recent Fair Trade Campaigns Conference for Fair Trade Towns & Universities in Chicago. At the conference, all students at Fair Trade Colleges & Universities were issued a challenge, and at Penn State Brandywine, we love a good challenge!
We were all asked to take a major step forward with our campus Fair Trade campaigns. It is education and awareness about Fair Trade that changes our purchasing patterns, so we are thoughtful about the impacts we can have on the lives of farmers and artisans.
The Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers have decided to accept Challenge #1, the Social Media Challenge! Fair Trade Colleges & Universities are challenging campaigns to increase the number of people following their Facebook or Twitter pages by 100. We, the Fair Trade TrailBlazers, have decided to increase the number of followers in Facebook by 100 AND in Twitter by 100!
This is where we need your help! If you are on Facebook and/or Twitter, please follow us to learn more about Fair Trade, what we do, and what YOU can do as an individual and with our group to make a global difference. Spread the word to family and friends to follow us as well!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/psubwfairtradeTwitter: http://twitter.com/psubw_fairtrade OK, maybe the “education and awareness” side isn’t enough to get you joining us online. How about some Fair Trade chocolate and ice cream? (yum!) For our first 50 new followers in Twitter and 50 new followers in Facebook, each person will entered into a raffle to win a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (any one of their Fair Trade flavors)! For all of our 100 new follower in Twitter and Facebook, each person will win a free Fair Trade Penn State t-shirt and a selection of Fair Trade chocolate. Now, we hope we have your attention, and that we can keep your attention, energy, and enthusiasm for Fair Trade.
Questions? Please contact email@example.com
On October 9 and 10, we held our “Go Bananas for Fair Trade” event on our campus. On Tuesday and Wednesday we gave out Equal Exchange Fair Trade bananas in front of the Lion statue. with the help of Professor Olear’s BA 100 (Introduction to Business) students. After two days of standing in the rain we gave out all 611 of our bananas. Thanks to the Fair Trade Town committee in Media who assisted us with securing the donation of all of the bananas.
On Thursday and Friday of the same week, the staff in the cafeteria baked up some delicious Fair Trade banana pancakes and muffin specials, and sold 55 of them. We have submitted our numbers in Fair Trade Towns USA, and are now waiting to see if we won the”Go Bananas for Fair Trade” challenge. If we win, Penn State Brandywine can select to receive free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for a year! So keep your fingers crossed for us.
Here is a picture of our beautiful setup for the banana hand out.
And here are our two awesome banana suits that worked really hard to give out bananas.
Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern
The “Go Bananas for Fair Trade” event at Penn State Brandywine, a nationwide campaign organized by Fair Trade Towns USA, was a huge success! As we continue on our journey as a Fair Trade University, we continue to work this fall semester toward raising awareness of the Fair Trade movement on campus, specifically with the first-year students, staff and faculty. On October 9-10, 2012, we hosted an event where campus and community members could come to campus and receive a FREE Fair Trade banana, information about the different Fair Trade labels, and take a Fair Trade banana quiz on an iPad. Be sure to read about the lead up to our event and the resulting success! We hope that our experience can help other campuses learn how to best host a Fair Trade banana event!
For starters, we consulted the Go Bananas website and found their Resources page for setting up a banana event. This was very helpful! But there were some other considerations we had to make, especially doing this event on a college campus.
Here are a few of the important lessons we learned about “Going Bananas” on campus:
- Get permission first! We CANNOT stress this enough! Our campus has rules with regards to food and food service on campus, and we are sure yours does as well. Some schools may require that all food be ordered and/or served through your dining services on campus. We received permission from the business office on campus to obtain the Fair Trade bananas from off campus and to distribute them.
- Get the word out. As the Go Bananas campaign ran the first two weeks of October, this was far enough into the fall semester so we were not still trying to get the semester under way. We used our campus’s social media sites our own social media sites, as well as the template from the Go Bananas website to create 11×17 inch posters with the banana logo/template. Our local town’s Fair Trade committee was kind enough to include us in an announcement sent to our local paper. It worked! In a two-day period, we were able to distribute all of our bananas.
- Consider running the event for more than one day. We scheduled the event over two days, as we are a commuter campus and some of our students are only on campus Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, while other students are only on campus Tuesdays/Thursdays. By having the event over two days, we were able to reach as many student across our campus population as possible.
- Expand your volunteer base – connect with a faculty member/course. Early in the semester, we had a faculty member that teachers Introduction to Business ask if her students could help out with the Go Bananas event. This was a first for the Fair Trade TrailBlazers, having a faculty member be proactive in contacting us and getting her students involved. We decided that after we secured the bananas, we would let the business students RUN the event! This was a great opportunity for us to spread the Fair Trade message to 40 first-semester freshmen in the course and to grow our volunteer base. These students have been asking more and more questions about Fair Trade, and we bet we are going to see them at our future events!
- Purchase more bananas than you think you will need. We actually ran out of bananas before the second day of the event was complete. Our original plan was to just distribute one banana per student/staff/faculty member, but we couldn’t say “no” to the handful of students that asked for bananas and flyers to provide to family members (again, we are a commuter campus where most of our students still live with their families). This provided us an opportunity to spread the “fair trade” message beyond campus!
- Think about jazzing up your bananas with additional ingredients. We wanted to do chocolate-covered bananas, but we couldn’t figure out how to have warm, melted Fair Trade chocolate in the location we were doing the event for people to dunk their bananas in. We saw some photos online of other universities doing some innovative slicing of bananas and pouring chocolate and sprinkles on top – what fun! We think taking our event to the next level with more “trimmings” next time will bring a new twist for us the next time, to bring more people back for more bananas.
- Choose a good time, overlap with the breakfast/lunch hours. We set our event at 10AM to 1PM both days, so that people could grab a banana between our morning classes and when they arrived on campus. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have a large group right when you begin, as people will filter in during the event – most likely, as we say, different students in the morning than over the lunch hour.
- Choose a good location on campus. Typically, most groups on our campus set up tables to promote events right outside the doors of the building that has our cafeteria and athletic center. We decided to set up outdoors in the center of campus, right next to our Lion Shrine statue. This allowed us to be visible as students left most of our academic buildings between classes, and we could “spread out” and direct people walking on sidewalks to walk over to our display to grab a banana. We certainly feel that location, location, location really mattered!
- Have a backup plan for bad weather. We booked an indoor location to give out the bananas, in case of really bad weather. Well, it actually ended up raining BOTH days of our event, but a little wet weather kept us outside and our energy was not dampened – we still had a successful event! The only part we were disappointed with was that because of the rain, not many students stayed by our tables outside to eat their banana, they went inside instead.
- Have a banana costume (or two). We had two banana costumes (Halloween costumes) available for students to wear. At first, we were not sure if anyone would wear the costume, but then it turned out we had more students that wanted to wear the costumes than we could manage! Having very energetic students willing to go around campus in the costumes really helped pull people over to our tables and added alot of fun to the activity. We were a popular spot for photos!
- Include an education component. We gave out a half-page flyer with every banana that provided some websites that talked about Fair Trade bananas and a list of where Fair Trade bananas can be purchased locally. We also included an information table (pictured below) with samples of products and another handout listing the different Fair Trade certification labels and describing what these labels mean. We even created a banana quiz for people to take on the iPad, which provided a fun way to bring technology and an interactive activity to the event.
- Include an advocacy component. Our original plan was to have a petition for our students to sign to get our campus dining services to serve Fair Trade bananas – but, as it turned out, they started serving Fair Trade bananas the week we had our event. We’re thrilled that they are STILL serving Fair Trade bananas, and we hope this lasts the entire academic year.
- Be environmentally responsible – compost those banana peels. We checked with the head of our campus landscaping, and it turns out he has two compost piles on campus. He was more than willing to provide a wheel barrel for us to collect the banana peels so he could compost them (see photo). This was a nice addition to our event and our campus environmental mission.
- Take lots of photos, and share the results. We took pictures and tweeted them during the event and posted a collection of photos in our flickr account after the banana event. It’s a great way to document what we did and to share the results with others. We hope the conversation continues and people are inspired to try their own event after seeing and reading what we did!
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
Tuesday, November 13
Tomezsko Building Classroom Lounge (first floor), Penn State Brandywine
The Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers, in conjunction with the Campus Common Read Committee, will be hosting a seminar by the co-founder of Hand in Hand Soap Bill Glaab. Hand in Hand Soap is a product certified by the Natural Products Association and Fair Trade USA (see this article on FTUSA’s website).
From Hand in Hand’s website:
Hand in Hand Soap was conceived in 2011 by two social entrepreneurs who believe that business can do so much more than just make money… Courtney and Bill set out to start a business based on sustainable giving. By directly tying charitable donations to the sale of an everyday product, Hand in Hand is able to give soap to those in need and save lives without depending on a single donation. For every bar purchased, Hand in Hand will donate a bar to save a life… Each bar of soap is 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable, and contains ingredients ethically harvested from sustainable resources. We have created what we consider to be the most environmentally friendly and ethically conscious soaps on the market today.
On the day of the seminar, the campus is carrying out a one-day soap drive for My Neighbor’s Children, an organization Hand in Hand teams up with to deliver soap to orphaned children worldwide. We are asking everyone to bring a bar of soap (or two or three or four!) to campus the day of the seminar to then be donated.
The seminar is free and open to the public. If you have any questions, please contact Connie at (610) 892-1249 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are thrilled to report that the John D. Vairo Library at Penn State Brandywine is adding books to their collection relating to the subject of Fair Trade! Students, the next time you are in the library, be sure to check these out!
Available in the CAT as an e-book:
- Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development (Littrell and Dickson, 2010) (Call Number – HD9999.H363 I46 2010) (book information)
- Fair Trade and Social Justice: Global Ethnographies (Lyon and Moberg, 2010) (Call Number – HF1379.F342 2010 eb) (book information)
- Brewing Justice (Jaffee, 2007) (Call Number – HD9199.D442J34 2007 EBOOK) (book information)
Print books in the stacks:
- Fair Trade: A Beginners Guide (DeCaralo, 2007) (Call Number – HF1413.D429 2007) (book information)
- The Fair Trade Revolution (Bowes, 2011) (Call Number – HF5417.F35 2011) (book information)
- Fighting the Banana Wars (Lamb, 2009) (Call Number – HD9011.5.L35 2009 – ordered and arriving soon!) (book information)
- Fair Trade from the Ground Up: New Markets for Social Justice (Linton, 2012) (Call Number – HF1379.L563 2012 – ordered and arriving soon!) (book information)
If anyone has any recommended books we should add to our collection, please comment on this post. Thank you!
Happy Fair Trade Month everyone! We’re pleased to be able to participate in the 9th annual Fair Trade month. This is the first time Penn State Brandywine is joining the national voice during October in making ethical purchases to provide a “hand up, not a hand out” for workers across the globe. Fair Trade USA has some helpful hints with 10 Easy Ways to Celebrate Fair Trade Month, and we have found our own ways to get involved appropriate for our campus community.
First up – we are Going Bananas for Fair Trade! We are joining the Fair Trade Towns & Universities campaign with what we are sure is going to be a fun event on campus. We’ll have 400 bananas to give out to 400 people to consume, along with an information table to educate people about where to purchase Fair Trade bananas locally, learn about Fair Trade labels on products, and even take a banana quiz on iPads! If you are in the area, feel free to swing by our campus (Penn State Brandywine) between 10AM and 1PM on October 9 and 10, and look for us at the Lion Shrine in the middle of campus. We are going to be environmentally responsible with the 400 banana peels – we will be composting all those peels on campus! Look for photos during our event on our social media sites.
Next up in Fair Trade Month – our second Fair Trade t-shirt exchange! This event was so popular in the spring semester, we are back asking for slightly worn t-shirts to be swapped for a Penn State Brandywine Alta Gracia t-shirt (yes, these shirts will say Brandywine on them!). All collected t-shirts will be donated to Planet Aid. Stay tuned for dates and times of the event in late October.
At the end of the month, Dr. Laura Guertin and one of our original Fair Trade TrailBlazers, Sarah DeMartino (now at the Penn State University Park campus) will be attending the Fair Trade Campaigns Conference in Chicago. Look for them to bring back more innovative ideas for education/awareness/advocacy of Fair Trade!
If you have not had a chance yet to read this article, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is written by Dr. John Anderson, President of Alfred State, titled Beyond Volunteering: Civic Engagement in Action.
You might already be wondering what this post has to do with Fair Trade – and I’ll get to that. But let’s start with Dr. Anderson’s discussion of volunteering versus civic engagement, terminology that is easily confused by students, faculty, and the general public. I have always told students that volunteering is usually a “one and done” service event, where only a band-aid fix is applied to a problem – for example, a canned food drive. Now volunteering is certainly important. We NEED to have food drives to help the food insecure in our region, but a food drive does not help address or make progress in solving the issue of hunger or eliminating the need for these collection drives. This is where I tell students civic engagement comes in, using the content knowledge and skill sets we’re learning in college and applying them to real-world situations to find sustainable solutions to local-to-international challenges.
And Dr. Anderson does a great job addressing the differences between volunteering and civic engagement. He relates volunteering to the term “what” – what are the problems? What can be done? But to get to civic engagement, that’s where the “why” and “how” comes in – why does this circumstance exist? Why is there a need? How can action be taken to change the current situation? How can a solution be put into place?
Students involved in Fair Trade University campaigns across the United States (and the globe!) play a strong role in civic engagement on their campuses. These students are leading events on campus, online, and in the community. Students are helping others make informed purchases of Fair Trade products from food to clothing to athletic equipment. Through events such as Alta Gracia t-shirt swaps (our what and how) and Fair Trade s’mores (our what and how) to the upcoming Going Bananas for Fair Trade event (being organized by an entire course on campus), my own Penn State Brandywine students are learning that education and awareness can lead to advocacy and the change they want to see.
Imagine how much further we could move the Fair Trade movement with even more civic engagement on college campuses. Thank you, Dr. Anderson, for reminding us that we need to continue to ask “why.”
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
This is both a very happy and bittersweet blog post. It will be my last post as Fair Trade Intern at Penn State Brandywine, as I am moving up to the Penn State campus in State College in two days. In all honesty, I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer. Once you learn about Fair Trade, it’s hard to shop or to look at products in the same way. I can’t walk into a store without thinking about the story behind each product and about the people who made them. I wonder if the clothes I wear or the car I drive were made by workers who were treated equally or poorly. Fair Trade has made me realize the power I have as a consumer by making an educated and ethical purchase. I hope that through my work at Penn State Brandywine I have made other people more aware of what they buy and the impacts of their choices. I hope that I furthered my community’s understanding of Fair Trade, and I hope to continue to spread Fair Trade when I move to University Park and beyond.
In some ways my Fair Trade experience has come full circle. Earlier this month the TrailBlazers submitted an application for affiliation with United Students for Fair Trade. USFT was the first organization that we had reached out to on our path to understanding and supporting Fair Trade, and their advice and guidance have been very important to our growth as a campus that supports Fair Trade. I was one of the first people to contact USFT, and spoke with Maria Louzon the National Coordinator. It was to our immense delight that USFT approved our application and the TrailBlazers are now officially affiliates.
We are so happy to be working with USFT, the first organization to help us gain footing in this ever changing movement, and we look forward to working with them in the near future.
Our next intern will be Louis Donaghue, one of the original TrailBlazers, and we are thrilled that he will be on board this fall to help further the movement on campus. Keep an eye out for his posts!
Anyway, it has been a pleasure interning for Penn State Brandywine. I have certainly learned a lot and will continue to do good things in the world of Fair Trade!
-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern
Wednesday (August 15, 2012) evening, Fair Trade Towns USA hosted a webinar about their Go Bananas Challenge and went over some tips for effectively using social media for spreading Fair Trade awareness during Fair Trade Month in October and during the rest of the year.
We were particularly interested in the Go Bananas Challenge portion of the webinar, as the TrailBlazers are hoping to participate and host some events on campus, but the discussion on social media tips turned out to be just as helpful. Fair Trade Towns USA pointed out a Tool Kit they have on their website for brainstorming ideas for events, hosting events, and a wealth of other information. Our plan, at this point, is to do something with Fair Trade Banana splits (can you imagine… Fair Trade Bananas, Fair Trade ice cream, and Fair Trade chocolate sauce!), though we are still muddling through some logistics and other ideas. We’ll post more about our exact plans closer to October (and after we meet with our food vendor on campus), but the webinar got us thinking about what events might be doable, how do we want to educate our campus population, who we should be contacting, etc. We hope that the Tool Kit above is as helpful for everyone else as it was for us!
But, the point we are most eager to share and blog about is actually the social media aspect of the webinar. Obviously, the TrailBlazers have been very much active in the social media world, and we are always looking for tips and ways to improve our outreach. We found two points in particular to be helping, but for the full guideline list, click here .
One point that really stuck out to us was food. Food posts and photos are some of the more popular topics in the world of social media. A significant chunk of the hits and likes on our own website have been for our food events and recipes, and we had wondered for a while if this was just a phenomena we were experiencing or if it was a common occurrence in the wider community. Fair Trade Towns USA confirmed that food is a hot-button topic on the internet, and people love to look at food and talk about food. Luckily, when talking about Fair Trade, food comes up often, so sharing food related posts is easy and a great way to get people engaged. As budding social media users, all of us TrailBlazers recommend adding some food flair now and again to get people’s attention.
Fair Trade Towns USA also talked about the power of a positive post. Positive posts get more retweets and shares than negative posts, and in the world of Fair Trade, shining the movement in the best light is important for keeping consumers and the general public feeling good about Fair Trade.
We especially liked these points because they can easily be tied into the Go Bananas Challenge. In addition to hosting events, we need to effectively get the word out there, and social media has been a wonderful tool for getting people aware of what we’re doing and involved. Getting our campus involved with food while educating on the positive impacts of Fair Trade bananas will hopefully get more of our community (and the wider community!) involved with Fair Trade.
-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern
The Fair Trade s’more event at Penn State Brandywine, Global Exchange’s We Want More from Our S’mores, was a huge success! As we continue on our journey as a Fair Trade University, we have worked all summer toward raising awareness of the Fair Trade movement on campus, specifically with the staff and faculty. On August 16, 2012, we hosted an event where campus and community members could come to campus to make a Fair Trade s’more and hear about the challenges in the cocoa industry. Be sure to read about the lead up to our event and the resulting success! We hope that our experience can help other campuses learn how to best host a Fair Trade s’more event!
For starters, we consulted the Global Exchange website and found their step-by-step checklist for setting up a s’more event. This was very helpful! But there were some other considerations we had to make, especially doing this event on a college campus in the summer.
Here are a few of the important lessons we learned about hosting a s’more event on campus:
- Get permission first! We CANNOT stress this enough! Our campus does not have any fire pits or grills. We checked with the director of business services on campus to see if we could have permission to toast marshmallows (we saw instructions online on how to soften marshmallows in the microwave, but we knew it would not be the same). We received permission to use a propane grill outdoors in an open area, as long as campus security was present with a fire extinguisher the entire time (and he was!). The propane grill did not have the “flame” that is typically associated with making s’mores, but the marshmallows did get soft and gooey! Be sure to check with the appropriate office on campus to see when, where, and how you can make s’mores.
- Get the word out. As the We Want More from Our S’mores campaign ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the timing made it difficult to get many students involved, but a great opportunity to get faculty and staff on board. We used our campus’s social media sites our own social media sites, and sent an announcement to our local town’s Fair Trade committee. We also emailed the faculty and staff email lists on campus to reach the people we knew would be around in the summer, and we sent specific invitations to campus administrators and alumni. It worked! We had 40 people in attendance, with a great mix of faculty, staff, and some students that were on campus that day.
- Have a RSVP form, but only use it as an estimate. We sent out a link to our online RSVP form in our emails and social media sites, so we could figure out how much food to purchase. We had 25 people fill out our online RSVP form, but as I just stated, 40 people showed up! Once word of mouth started spreading around campus about the event, we think people decided close to the date of the event to attend, and by that point, forgot about the RSVP. And of the people that did RSVP, approximately 10 of them did not attend. So although the RSVP form was a great idea, it did not exactly help with our planning (see our next point….) But we certainly didn’t mind the overflow of people, because the more we can reach out to, the better!
- Purchase more ingredients than the RSVP says you will need. Because we had more people show up than responded to the invitation, we were relieved we bought extra ingredients! And, we saw some people randomly chomping down on giant marshmallows and chocolate, in more of a deconstructed s’more form, which was fine by us!
- Think about jazzing up your s’mores with additional ingredients. We also purchased Fair Trade bananas from Whole Foods and organic strawberries, which allowed us the opportunity to show the Fair Trade logo to attendees, to let them know where to purchase these food items, themselves, and to discuss the developing Domestic Fair Trade certification movement (since there are no Fair Trade strawberries at this time).
- Choose a good time, overlap with the lunch hour. We set our event at 12:30PM-1:30PM, so that people could eat their lunch first and then come over for a s’more. This also worked well for staff/faculty that were in lunchtime meetings from Noon-1PM. We had many people come at different times in the hour, and we didn’t finish cleaning up until 2PM. So don’t be concerned if you don’t have a large group right when you begin, as people will filter in during the event.
- Include an education component. We gave a short talk about what is going on with child slave labor in the cocoa industry, letting people know which chocolate companies are Fair Trade, which ones are making progress, and which ones have much progress that still needs to be made.
- Include an advocacy component. We had several copies of the Global Exchange petition for the Raise the Bar campaign. By having multiple copies around the area we hosted the event, we were able to fill three pages with signatures. This allowed people to not only learn about Fair Trade chocolate, but to get involved by making their voice heard.
- Take lots of photos, and share the results. We took pictures and tweeted them during the event and posted a collection of photos in our flickr account after the s’more fest. It’s a great way to document what we did and to share the results with others. We hope the conversation continues and people are inspired to try their own event after seeing and reading what we did!
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
Today (August 16, 2012) the Fair Trade TrailBlazers and the Penn State Brandywine Community participated in Global Exchange’s “We Want More from our S’mores” event. This initiative was started by Global Exchange to put pressure on the chocolate industry to stop using child labor and to continue to seek more ethical means of producing chocolate (see our previous post for more details). From 12:30 to 1:30, faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Vairo Library courtyard and made Fair Trade S’mores to help Global Exchange’s campaign. Fair Trade Equal Exchange chocolate (the dark mini bars) was provided as well as Fair Trade Bananas from Whole Foods. Yes, you read correctly. Fair Trade Bananas! These were not just any Fair Trade S’mores, but gourmet Fair Trade S’mores. In addition to jumbo sized marshmallows and boxes and boxes of graham crackers, organic strawberries were provided (sadly not Fair Trade. All the more reason why we need a domestic Fair Trade system). By the end of the event, 40 people attended, 45 s’mores were eaten, and 25 people signed the We Want More from Our S’mores petition. It was truly a wonderful and successful event!
Here are some photos from this afternoon!
Here are all of the lovely ingredients we used in our Fair Trade S’mores!
A completed S’more.
Here we have a group of students and faculty toasting some marshmallows.
TrailBlazer Jack Ramaika enjoys a Fair Trade S’more!
Fair Trade Intern and TrailBlazer Sarah DeMartino talks to the crowd about the controversy in the Chocolate Industry and the importance of the “We Want More from our S’mores” event.
Louis Donaghue (TrailBlazer and Fall Fair Trade Intern), Jack Ramaika (TrailBlazer), and Sarah DeMartino (TrailBlazer and Summer Fair Trade Intern) pose for a photo during the event.
So Many S’mores eaten!
To see more photos, check out our Flickr page!
-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern
We are going to begin sending out periodic updates for Fair Trade news and events at Penn State Brandywine. If you are interested in keeping in the loop and maybe attending and/or volunteering at some of our events (such as our tentatively scheduled Fair Trade S’mores event, second Fair Trade t-shirt exchange, and volunteering at Media’s Fair Trade Fair), we encourage you to sign up!
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No, Alta Gracia, YOU are the ones rockin’ the #FF on Twitter!
Check out what is now available in our campus bookstore (and at the Barnes & Noble bookstores of all Penn State campuses) – Alta Gracia rolled t-shirts! The blue and gray t-shirts state on the label: “Living Tee, Changing Lives One Shirt At A Time. A Living Tee guarantees that the valued people making these t-shirts receive wages and benefits that allow them to provide for all of life’s necessities, for the health and well being of themselves and their family. Proudly made in the Dominican Republic, a Product of Alta Gracia.”
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
Today we TrailBlazers met with our staff and faculty at Penn State Brandywine to update them about Fair Trade, what our campus has been doing, what tasks we still hope to accomplish, and what kind of community involvement we need to further the movement. It was a successful meeting, and we were happy with the kinds of questions asked, like how can Fair Trade be implemented into classes, how do we go from education and awareness to action, where do we see our campus a few years down the line, and so on. The meeting gave us a lot to think about in terms of sparking passion in the community and keeping the momentum going.
Our hope is to make the Fair Trade movement on campus not only a student initiative, but one that brings the faculty, staff, and administration into the fold as well. We discussed how student clubs on campus have been mostly student oriented, and while a Fair Trade club is a good idea, we want to include everyone on campus. In essence, by bringing Fair Trade to Penn State Brandywine, we hope to change the culture in a positive, more communal way, so that the student body and the faculty, staff, and administration, have something in common to gather around.
That kind of togetherness is already starting to bud, and from the meeting today, it is easy to see how passionate our community is becoming. It’s hard to say where this will be in several years, even a year, but I can’t think of a better rallying point than Fair Trade.
-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern
Link to podcast (MP3 file)
The Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers have a few helpful tips on staying in the loop with information about the Fair Trade movement. Penn State Brandywine recently became declared a Fair Trade University, and it was very important for us TrailBlazers to understand the growing movement and educate our campus. There is a lot going on with Fair Trade, and we had some hesitations and reservations about how to proceed in deciding what was best for our campus. Here are some tools we felt were helpful for learning about Fair Trade as the movement changes.
Starting out, we didn’t know much about Fair Trade, so our first step was to read! We read lots of articles about Fair Trade to acquire the necessary background information, and here are a few good websites and books for you to check out. We found the Fair Trade Resource Network’s website (fairtraderesource.org) very helpful and up to date with everything happening in the Fair Trade world, along with Fair Trade.org.uk, and the Fair Trade section under the Environment category of The Guardian website (guardiannews.com). We also found the books Fighting The Banana Wars and other Fairtrade Battles by Harriet Lamb, Fair Trade by Jacqueline DeCarlo, Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide by Stacey Edgar, Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival by Daniel Jaffee, and Coffee and Community by Sarah Lyon to be very helpful in understanding Fair Trade.
Our second step was to contact different organizations involved with Fair Trade. There is a lot of different activity and viewpoints toward Fair Trade at the moment, so talking to a wide variety of organizations helped us greatly in trying to understand the whole picture. Everybody we spoke to was helpful, enthusiastic, and had a wealth of knowledge and insight. A few good groups to contact are United Students for Fair Trade, Divine Chocolate, Fair Trade Towns, Fair Trade USA, Equal Exchange, Fair Trade Federation, Alta Gracia, and Ten Thousand Villages. There is a plethora of other groups you can get in contact with, and we encourage you to do so! Don’t forget that if you cannot bring a speaker to campus, there is always the opportunity to Skype and exchange information via email.
We also made a point of contacting local Fair Trade towns and schools. Support is crucial when starting out on the Fair Trade path, and we are lucky enough to be located in the town of Media, Pennsylvania, America’s first Fair Trade Town, and to have Penncrest High School, America’s first Fair Trade public high school, right down the road. We were also able to talk to Temple University about Fair Trade and what it is doing to support and bring Fair Trade to its campus. Having other groups to talk to helped us to see what has already been done and where we could go. These institutions were both insightful and encouraging! If you and your university are seeking to support Fair Trade, ask other schools and towns in your area what they are doing to support Fair Trade and start networking early. Even if they are not designated to be a Fair Trade school or town, they still might have initiatives supporting Fair Trade.
Lastly, perhaps one of the most powerful messages we took away from our discussions with these organizations, schools, and towns, was to ask questions and hold people accountable. It is important to understand how Fair Trade is growing and to ask the right questions. Know what Fair Trade means to you and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions. If something is unclear, ask somebody about it and speak up.
We hope that you found our tips helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com, or on our Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts.
We TrailBlazers are interested in posting more voices on our blog! So, we open up our blog to your Fair Trade events, opinions, discussions, recipes, etc. and would love to share them. If you would like to write in, please email your post to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and we will share it on our blog. If you wish to remain anonymous, please specify so in your email.
Anyway, we hope to have your voice on our blog! Happy writing!
-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern
Located across the street from Penn State Brandywine is Tyler Arboretum, a wonderful place to explore a variety of plants, hike trails, and learn some local history. Each year, the Arboretum hosts Tyler at Twilight, a silent and live auction that raises funds to support Tyler’s mission and 650 acres of the outdoors. In honor of their recent designation as a Fair Trade University campus, the faculty mentor for the Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers donated on behalf of the TrailBlazers a basket filled with Fair Trade food and crafts for the silent auction. Paired with organic fruits and vegetables from Greener Partners’ Hillside Farm Share, these items raised over $300 for Tyler Arboretum!
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
(Periodically, we will post the reflections of our group, the Fair Trade TrailBlazers at Penn State Brandywine. We feel it is important for us to examine and report our views and where we fit in with this global movement. Below is our first reflection, documenting our thoughts as we went through the process of applying for Fair Trade University status. This statement was drafted by the students in ENVST 400W in Spring 2012 with Dr. Guertin completing the final edits at the end of the semester.)
Our journey to Fair Trade University status has been incredibly rewarding, and at the same time challenging, thoughtful, confusing, and informative. We (the Fair Trade TrailBlazers enrolled in ENVST 400W) began the Spring 2012 semester with full intentions of applying to become a Fair Trade University. We learned about Fair Trade – how the movement began, and what it stands for. But we soon learned about the rift forming within the Fair Trade movement, and we decided to pause and ask ourselves, what does this disagreement mean? Is Fair Trade something we want to be affiliated with? Is this what our campus stands for?
First, as university students, we knew we had to do as much research and information gathering about Fair Trade as we could. We read books and articles. We spoke with representatives from United Students for Fair Trade, Media’s Fair Trade Town Committee, and Fair Trade Towns USA. The more we learned about Fair Trade, the more we knew we had to step up and ask questions, and hold people accountable. We felt and still feel it is it our responsibility to stand our ground for what we feel Fair Trade represents, and that we can represent the small farmers that need a larger voice.
To us, Fair Trade is more than products with a “bucket boy” logo. And we are disappointed that some audiences are asking groups to choose sides, to not affiliate with certain organizations or to not purchase certain items. We want to focus on raising awareness, that we as consumers have the power to support the small farmers with conscious decisions about our purchases. By choosing sides and not purchasing items, we realize that it is the producers, the people we want to help in the end, will only be the ones getting hurt.
We know the Fair Trade movement is young in the United States, and at this point there are more questions than solutions. But we knew that we did not want to spend the semester getting weighed down under all the details. After much individual reflection and group discussion, we decided to go forward with applying for Fair Trade University status. We want others in the local-to-global community to know we are part of this movement, and we feel we will have a stronger voice and more opportunity to participate in these discussions with Fair Trade University status.
And we realize our education about Fair Trade is far from over. We need to continue to have conversations, to ask our own questions and the questions that are not being asked. We want to open dialogue with all interested and involved parties. We want to take further action to promote the movement and improve the lives of the producers. We are in support of consumer power to combat global poverty. We are… Penn State Brandywine’s Fair Trade TrailBlazers.
Above: Every shirt in this photo is an Alta Gracia shirt/sweatshirt.
Below: A section of Fair Trade artisan goods for sale.
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
We are pleased to introduce Sarah DeMartino, Penn State Brandywine’s first Fair Trade intern! Sarah is one of the Fair Trade TrailBlazers that successfully worked towards having Penn State Brandywine established as a Fair Trade University campus. Sarah has just finished her sophomore year at Brandywine and is on her way to the Penn State – University Park campus for the fall semester to continue with her major in International Politics.
Sarah DeMartino, one of the original Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade TrailBlazers and first Fair Trade intern for the campus.
Today, the Fair Trade TrailBlazers were joined by some special guests for a great lunch and conversation – Spring 2012 Laboratory for Civic Engagement Communications Intern Zanya Stephenson, Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, and donor David Rosenberg. As members of the first Rosenberg Civic Engagement Course, the TrailBlazers shared their experiences learning about Fair Trade, connecting with people and organizations outside of the campus to inform their learning, and the collaboration and leadership necessary to get approved for Fair Trade University status. The students also discussed how to sustain and grow these efforts to continue education and awareness of the Fair Trade movement.
Pictured above, front row, left to right: Sara Neville, Zanya Stephenson, Sarah DeMartino. Back row, left to right: Chancellor Wisniewska, Louis Donaghue, David Rosenberg, Dr. Laura Guertin, Bryan Marton.
May 12, 2012, is a special date in Penn State Brandywine’s history. To kick off a community event held on campus (Middletown Community Day), Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska read an announcement that Penn State Brandywine is officially designated with Fair Trade University status. The gathered crowd responded with cheers and applause upon hearing the news. As the faculty mentor for the students that made this possible, I could not feel more pride than I did on that day, knowing that the students had reached this amazing goal and was celebrating their achievement on World Fair Trade Day with the community members present.
The students, the Fair Trade TrailBlazers, had a table at the four-hour event with a display of various Fair Trade items, our Fair Trade University certificate, brochures and handouts describing what Fair Trade means at Penn State Brandywine and links to our website and social media sites, and free samples of Equal Exchange chocolate taped to information cards the students designed. The TrailBlazers distributed over 400 chocolate bars to people that were curious to learn more about Fair Trade, already familiar with Fair Trade, and just Penn State Proud of the students taking a stand in the battle against global poverty. The day was thrilling, exhausting, and challenging to keep the chocolate samples from melting in the warm sunshine!
The TrailBlazers received support from fellow student supporter Aimee Ralph (far left in photo above) and Bryan Marton’s (far right in photo) middle school daughter, who was so inspired by our Fair Trade conversations that day that she is going back to her school to talk about Fair Trade! We were also visited at the beginning of the day by Penn State University student Abbey Dufoe, the student that completed an independent study project in Summer 2011 that started the Fair Trade ball rolling at the Brandywine campus.
We look forward to continuing the discussions, education, and outreach of Fair Trade in Media and beyond!
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
The Fair Trade TrailBlazers will have a table at Middletown Community Day, held at the Penn State Brandywine campus on Saturday, May 12. It just so happens that May 12 is also World Fair Trade Day, and hopefully, the day our campus is declared with Fair Trade University status!
At Middletown Community Day, we will have a table with educational information and brochures about Fair Trade, as well as samples of Equal Exchange chocolate (the mini organic dark chocolate bars) to hand out. But with over 2,000 people expected to stop by campus on this day, we have alot to prepare! After some marathon sessions of cutting and taping (such as the scenes in the photos below), we think we are ready. Of course, we are still waiting on pins and needles for the verdict on our Fair Trade University application…
Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin
During our Fair Trade journey, we worked with two students from the English 419 class, Jason Mandell and Jeff Beecher. Both of these students were very dedicated in helping our push for being a Fair Trade University campus. Both Jason and Jeff attended the Divine Chocolate seminar by Amanda White. On May 17th and 18th, we had our Fair Trade T-Shirt Exchange and we asked Jeff what he thought about the event. Jeff responded, “The exchange was very productive. I liked how the word got out to students and they understood what was going on and really took a liking to it.” Jeff also mentioned that, “The swap was beneficial for our campus and it was very organized by the students and Dr. Guertin.”
Then we caught up with Jason and asked him more about Fair Trade. We asked him questions such as: what are your thoughts about Fair Trade,what has it been like to write about it, and would he agree that Fair Trade would benefit for our campus? Jason enthusiastically responded: “It’s a very interesting concept that can result in a beneficial cause, and form a trade between power countries and developing countries, a way to bridge the gap.” And when we asked if Fair Trade University status would it be good for our campus, Jason responded, ” Yes, it would be very good for our campus. We are able to educate the student and faculty on the cause and why it is beneficial to our community and campus and could spread to other PSU campus’ and help the Fair Trade movement.”
Thanks again for the help from Jason Mandell and Jeff Beecher of Professor Donna Talis’ English 419 class for their press release, recruitment letter, and overall support for Fair Trade.
Contributed by Joe Sweeny
The Penn State Brandywine first Fair Trade T-Shirt Exchange was a huge success. We exchanged 72 t-shirts and received 237 and counting in return! This t-shirt swap could not have been done without all the excellent students in our class, our hard working teacher, and all the staff and faculty around campus.
The Penn State Fair Trade t-shirts were purchased from Alta Gracia, which is a fair trade company located in the Dominican Republic, with a grant from the Student Allocations Fee Committee. All the students in the class and our professor Dr. G did a wonderful job preparing for our t-shirt swap. We put together brochures, a list of our URLs for our social networks, and posters to promote Fair Trade and our t-shirt swap. For the swap the rules were simple. You could bring in any number of t-shirts as long as they were slightly used and wearable, and in exchange the swapper gets one Penn State Fair Trade t-shirt. The swap was held on Wednesday and Thursday of this past week and was held indoors and outdoors. On Wednesday our turnout was fairly small because most of the students and staff were not aware that the swap was going on, despite the flyers and emails. A lot of students were excited about the swap when they saw it and told us that they would be back on Thursday with a t-shirt. On Thursday the swap skyrocketed through the roof in popularity. Students and staff did a great job of contributing.
This swap made our movement even more interesting then ever. We had fun with this swap but also did a great job of getting the word out to the students and staff. On behalf of our ENVST400W class we would like to thank everyone that made this possible and we would also like to throw a special thank you to Alta Gracia and Joe Buskirk from our Penn State Brandywine bookstore, donating 37 t-shirts from the bookstore himself, for making this swap a huge success.
Contributed by Joe Sweeny
The Fair Trade t-shirt exchange at Penn State Brandywine was a huge success! During our journey toward becoming a Fair Trade University, we have worked toward raising awareness of the Fair Trade movement and our efforts on campus. As part of the process, we’ve committed to hosting several Fair Trade events on campus each semester. Our first big event was hosting Amanda White from Divine Chocolate (read more about it here), and our second event was Wednesday and Thursday’s Fair Trade T-shirt exchange. We hope that our experience can help other campuses learn how to best host a Fair Trade T-shirt Swap!
Aimee Ralph, showing some Penn State pride! (photo via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)
Our t-shirt swap was a two-day event where students could bring in a gently used t-shirt to exchange for a brand new, Fair Trade, Penn State t-shirt from Alta Gracia Apparel. Our 72 Fair Trade tees quickly disappeared, and we received 237 tees for charity in exchange! All of the donated tees were given to local Planet Aid drop boxes. We chose Planet Aid because we felt that their mission of global sustainability and recycling clothing complements the missions of the Fair Trade movement.
Here are a few of the important lessons we learned about hosting a t-shirt swap:
- Get the word out! Be sure to effectively use your campus’s social media and other forms of making announcements to make sure that everyone knows about the event. Everyone wants a free t-shirt (which is a huge draw for spreading the Fair Trade message), but on our campus, not everyone knew about the swap. If we had spread the word a bit better, we could have made a bigger impact.
- Set your date early, hold the event later. Setting the date early in the semester will help your committee spread the word, so that a t-shirt swap later in the semester will be successful.
- Apply for funding. You might be surprised at the funds your school will provide for you. We not only got our 72 t-shirts donated (with the help of our campus’s student activity fee), but we also got our student government association to provide funding for us for future activities on campus.
- Students first! If you are doing a two-day event, dedicate the first day to students only. On the second day, set aside the first half of your event for students and then give staff and faculty the opportunity to swap for a tee. Unfortunately, we ran out so quickly that some students who wanted to participate didn’t get a chance to snag a Fair Trade tee!
- Have an elevator speech & Fair Trade literature. Some students were confused as to why we were collecting old t-shirts to donate to charity when we had a slew snazzy new shirts to give out for free. “Why don’t you just donate those?” one student asked us. We realized that although we had a brochure that explained why we were doing the swap, and our posters all said something about Fair Trade, the cause of the event was lost on a lot of people. Be prepared with a 30 seconds-or-less “elevator speech” for the students who want to get their hands on free swag. Why are you doing this swap? What is Fair Trade? What are you doing on campus to promote the movement? In addition to the brochure, we handed out a half-sheet of paper that included links to our social media outlets and petition on change.org.
Joe gives a Fair Trade tee to Director of Student Affairs, Dr. Matthew Shupp, while Sarah gets footage of the TrailBlazers in action (via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)
Bryan and Sara, packing up the donated tees… all 237 of them! (via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)
Sara talks to Matthew Bodek, Instructional Design Specialist on campus (via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)
The whole lot! Thanks PSU Brandywine, for your support! (via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)
With a campus of about 1600 students, we were able to give away 72 t-shirts without a problem. For campuses with a larger student body, make sure you order enough tees! This is an event that will definitely bring success to your movement on campus.
Contributed by Sara Neville.
The Fair Trade TrailBlazers presented a poster at the campus undergraduate research symposium EURECA on April 17, 2012. The abstract and poster were a collaborative effort, with TrailBlazer Bryan Marton (pictured below) representing the group at EURECA. The text of the abstract is included in this post. Click here to view a PDF of the poster.
Commuting to the Grounds of Fair Trade University Status: Achieving Leadership in Penn State’s Fair Trade Movement
Bryan Marton, Sarah DeMartino, Louis Donaghue, Stephen Hurwitz, Sara Neville, John Ramaika, Joseph Sweeny, Dr. Laura Guertin (Faculty Advisor)
Environmental Inquiry Program, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Fair Trade is a global social movement for producers, consumers, communities, and the environment. The purchase of Fair Trade certified products serves to protect the planet, build sustainable business, empower women, support education, fight poverty, and provide health care. Universities are strategically situated to harness the power of higher education to raise awareness about the benefits of Fair Trade to small-scale producers and workers. Schools can be honored with Fair Trade University status by embedding Fair Trade principles within administrative policy and the social fabric of the academic community. Fair Trade University (FTU) status is appropriate for Penn State Brandywine, with the institution’s land-grant mission and commitment to global issues. Designated a FTU allows the campus to solidify local connections with the nation’s first Fair Trade Town (Media, PA) and first Fair Trade public high school (Penncrest).
Students enrolled in the Spring 2012 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (ENVST 400W) set out to complete the process for becoming a Fair Trade University. Students were required to consult with various offices on campus, including business services and the bookstore. Students needed to draft documents for the FTU proposal, including a resolution, procurement policy, and future plans for campus academic and extra-curricular integration. No textbook or curricular materials existed for the students to work from; the process to become a FTU required much critical thinking, inquiry, networking, and leadership.
After organizing two Fair Trade events and presenting to various campus audiences, the students have submitted the Fair Trade University application for review. Penn State Brandywine looks forward to joining six other universities designated with FTU status and being the first Penn State campus with this honor. Future goals include expanding campus student involvement and sharing the process and products with other Penn State campuses and universities, being a leader locally and nationally.
Read this post written by Fair Trade TrailBlazer Steve Hurwitz on his thoughts/reflections about being a part of the Fair Trade University movement on campus. Steve’s post was published on The Brandywine Blog, the view of the campus through the eyes of students.
View our video that explores our mission and objectives for earning Fair Trade University status. Fair Trade University status was granted to Penn State Brandywine on May 12, 2012.
Our campus virtually participated in Penn State’s Earth Day celebrations by leading an effort to collect six word postings relating to Planet Earth (see the post online to describe the project).
We asked our Fair Trade friends to post in their Twitter accounts or as a comment to this blog post six words that address not only the Earth but Fair Trade. View our collection that increases even more awareness and discussion of Fair Trade for Earth Day 2012! We looked for posts in Twitter with the hashtag #psubw6words and comments with six words below and placed them in our Storify collection.
Our campus was asked to provide two MS PowerPoint slides for the “PowerPoint of all PowerPoints,” a slideshow to be displayed at Penn State University Park’s Earth Day celebration on April 20. We jumped on the opportunity to use those two slides to highlight the environmental sustainability component of the Fair Trade movement (and for a little self-promotion about our pursuit of Fair Trade University status!).
Feel free to view our Penn State Brandywine slides for University Park’s Earth Day 2012 celebration, posted here as a PDF file.
Jack, Sarah and I had a great time talking to an attentive Business (Management) class at Brandywine, today. Thank you, Dr. Godshalk, for letting us come and talk to your class.
Contributed by Bryan Marton
I’ve been looking online at ways to make fair trade water ice. I can’t find anything that has to do with making fair trade water ice. I was wondering if there was any criteria on how to make Fair Trade water ice, or does anyone have any ideas of how this could be done?
Contributed by Joe Sweeny
ENVST 400W, Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies, has been selected by Penn State Brandywine’s Laboratory for Civic Engagement as the first Rosenberg Civic Engagement Course. The course focuses on the interdisciplinary subject of Fair Trade.
To honor and recognize the significant contribution David and Marjorie Rosenberg have made to assist with coordinating and further expanding the civic engagement efforts at Penn State Brandywine, the campus will identify one course each semester (fall and spring) and designate that course the Rosenberg Civic Engagement Course. The course goes above-and-beyond a standard campus civic engagement offering and challenges students to the highest levels, aligning with the Laboratory for Civic Engagement’s mission of citizenship, scholarship, and leadership. The course is selected by the Laboratory Coordinator and the Rosenberg Professor for Leadership and Innovation.
Dr. Laura Guertin, Associate Professor of Earth Science and instructor for ENVST 400W, is thrilled with the honor. ”The students certainly have earned this recognition,” she states. ”This course demands that students step up as leaders in moving forward the effort to establish Penn State Brandywine as a Fair Trade University. Students have been in conversations with staff on campus, alumni through email and Skype, and have hosted speakers from Fair Trade Towns Media and Fair Trade Towns USA. The students have developed mission and vision statements of Fair Trade on campus, and they will be hosting two Fair Trade events later this semester.” Dr. Guertin encourages everyone to come out for the Fair Trade t-shirt exchange and seminar by Divine Chocolate.
“The students refer to themselves as the Fair Trade Trailblazers,” says Guertin. ”And I couldn’t agree more. Not only are they challenging themselves as leaders and engaged citizens, but by being recognized as members of the first Rosenberg Course, they are setting the bar for future student learning and civic engagement on campus and in the local-to-global community.”
We created an online petition at Change.org to encourage support for our efforts in becoming a Fair Trade University.
By the time we submitted our application for Fair Trade University status, our Change.org petition received 53 virtual signatures! Feel free to see what we had posted, “Penn State University students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends: Show your support for PSU Brandywine becoming a Fair Trade University!” (LINK to petition, http://tinyurl.com/psubwftu)
The Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade journey began in 2011 through old-fashioned face-to-face conversations. Next, we moved to Twitter (http://twitter.com/psubw_fairtrade) and Google+ (http://tinyurl.com/psubwfairtrade). In working to expand our reach even further, and to allow our Penn State family and Fair Trade friends to interact with us, we are establishing this site with the ability to blog and receive comments for asynchronous discussions. Join us as we continue our own journey and exploration of Fair Trade!