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)
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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.