An annual event on the Keele Campus, York University’s Fair Trade Campus Week, which took place Oct. 25 to 29, draws attention to the growing instability in the global economy. Fair trade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade fair for farmers and workers.
York University’s Fair Trade Campus Week featured a combination of virtual and in-person events, including a virtual panel discussion focused on the theme “Fair Trade, Sustainability and Universities.” Panellists were Sean McHugh, executive director, Canadian Fair Trade Network; Madison Hopper, marketing manager, Equifruit; Pippa Rogers, director of communications, Fairtrade Canada, and Mark McLaughlin, chief commercial services officer, Simon Fraser University. Joining the panellists from York University were Tom Watt, director, food services, Ancillary Services Department and Chad Saunders, director, bookstores, print and mailing services, Ancillary Services Department. The panel was hosted by students, faculty and staff and organized by Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Associate Professor John Simoulidis.
Panellists shared their experiences, stories and successes working within the fair trade movement. The theme throughout the discussion was power in numbers – when groups of people and organizations share a common goal, they can exert influence to create positive change and universities can be a big part of that change. In Canada, the population of university campuses is close to three million, this accounts for almost seven per cent of the overall Canadian population. This gives campuses tremendous leverage through its purchasing power by demanding that fair trade certified products are included in its food services contracts.
Attendees were encouraged to participate by posing questions to the panel and by taking part in a fair trade trivia quiz. Giulia Rosano from the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change was the winner of the trivia quiz and received a fair trade gift prize.
Fair trade products are available on York University’s campuses. Fair trade apparel is available at the University’s Bookstore, in partnership with Green Campus Co-Op. Food Services’ partner Aramark offers fair trade coffee, teas and bananas.
To learn more about the Fair Trade Campus program, fair trade products or about how to get involved in advancing an economy that is fair and sustainable, visit the Fair Trade Campus website or the Fairtrade Canada website.