Friday, February 5, 2016

MC students and faculty play fair with workers

By Nikki Dowling

Manhattan College has become the first college in the city and the fifth in the country to be named a Fair Trade University. 

To receive the designation, a school has to have two fair trade products in each of its vending facilities; use fair trade items at meetings and events; develop a resolution outlining its commitment to the cause; and implement lessons about conscientious consumption. 

“It’s really just part of giving back to the community … It’s important to reach outside our school community,” senior Hilary Krombel said. 

The first U.S. college designated by Fair Trade Universities was University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, which received the honor in 2008. 

When Gwendolyn A. Tedeschi, assistant professor of economics at MC, found out about Fair Trade Universities, she began filling out applications and helped form a fair trade steering committee made up of faculty, student interns and David Funkhouser of Fair Trade USA. The committee lobbied the school senate and executive committee to pass a resolution formalizing MC’s commitment and dedication to fair trade. College President Brennan O’Donnell signed it on Feb. 7 and the designation was announced at an event on Feb. 16 in Thomas Hall’s dining area. 

“I think it … raises the bar a bit,” Ms. Tedeschi said of the official designation. “It says that we’re not going to be static, we’re going to continue … our programming, not just extracurricular … but within the classroom.”

In many ways, MC’s recognition was merely a formality. Faculty and staff at the school have been buying, researching, promoting and spreading the word about fair trade products and their benefits for the last five years. 

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