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