Above: Group photo at the conclusion of the Fair Trade Leadership Development session at Temple University.
On March 17, 2012, a training session was held at Temple University for college/university students and faculty (as well as K-12 teachers and students!) for leadership development in the Fair Trade movement. Students and faculty were in attendance from Temple University, Drexel University, Lehigh University, Haverford College, Cabrini College, Villanova University, American University in DC, and our own Penn State Brandywine (Dr. G, Sara, and Bryan). The topics of discussion for the day included a background on Fair Trade, how to build a local effort on our campuses, what to include in a Fair Trade elevator pitch, sustaining our efforts, building a coalition, and fundraising.
Sara’s takeaways from the session: (1) I didn’t know that Ben & Jerry’s has a Campus Consciousness Campaign. This is a really cool way to strengthen the movement’s college-aged supporters. I think college students can be very passionate and willing to take risks, so it’s important that Ben & Jerry’s has this campaign! (2) The Fair Trade movement is designed not to be a charity, but to empower farmers and artisans. I love that this is a sustainable business partnership that provides workers with the opportunity to maximize their skills, keep a job, and learn to use their pay to support their families; and (3) The most important message I took away from this workshop is that relationships create change. The workshop leader, Steve Honeyman said, “All power is in relationships,” and I believe this to be true. The best way to teach people about the Fair Trade movement is to talk to them one on one; tell them your story, how you were inspired to learn more about Fair Trade… the motivation to make change is all in those one on one interactions!
Bryan’s takeaways from the session: (1) That Aramark, Bon Appetit, Sodexho, etc., already are not only aware of Fair Trade but are including Fair Trade products in their catalog(s). Although it would seem that they are not actively pushing Fair Trade the way Ben & Jerry’s do it, for example, it is still a step in the right “corporate” direction; (2) In our discussion relating to Fair Trade certification, the idea of cutting out the ” Middleman” was brought out. I BELIEVE this a very key component of the Fair Trade movement. In these times of corporate & individual greed , there will always be attempts to “regulate” the flow of Fair Trade (esp. in world trade). I was very impressed with this aspect of Billy’s & Steve’s inclusion of this topic. Hopefully, when we attend major conferences, this point will be discussed at length; and (3) The discussion of raising money and finding funding for our project(s) inpired me. After opening a business of my own and developing business plans for others, Fair Trade will need funding sources to grow it. My feeling is that we have a fantastic product with a bright future and I think the fire is HOT for Fair Trade.
Dr. G’s takeaways from the session: (1) I picked up many quotes that are short but clearly communicate what Fair Trade represents. For example, “Fair Trade is not a charity but a system of empowerment,” and “Fair Trade is not a hand out but a hand up.” And I’ll never forget Billy’s LOFTy goals – that’s local, organic, Fair Trade! These quotes are good to remember and even better to use in conversation; (2) A great question was asked in the middle of the day – “What was your biggest turning point in Fair Trade?” This is an important question all of the Penn State Brandywine students involved in our efforts should reflect upon and be able to answer; and (3) That myself as a faculty member and the students can do all the education and awareness campaigns they want, but it is the act of PURCHASING that needs to occur for Fair Trade to succeed and continue its expansion.
Below: Sara Neville and Bryan Marton, student attendees from the Penn State Brandywine Fair Trade Trailblazers!