On Thursday, Nov. 2, Harry Amberson ordered six cases of Starbucks Fair Trade Caf? Estima Coffee for the New Library caf?.? Amberson, director of operations of Sodexho at the College, placed the order in light of the recent Fair Trade events and growing interest in the product in the past month.
Starting this week, Fair Trade coffee will be available for consumption in the New Library caf?.? It will replace the Starbucks Light Note blend.?The Fair Trade Caf? Estima coffee is a multi-regional blend, whose beans range from cooperative coffee farms in Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Fair Trade is a movement that is aimed at achieving both socially and environmentally sustainable development. ?
Products that are labeled Fair Trade guarantee that the producers are paid living wages, which is then integrated within their community toward schools and clinics, as well as furthering the development of their farms.? These products can include anything from coffee and tea to chocolate, rice and fresh fruit.
On the forefront of the Fair Trade campaign are Amnesty International and the Progressive Student Alliance, which collectively received a $300 grant from Transfair USA, a non-profit Fair Trade labeling association, to raise awareness on campus for Fair Trade Month.?
Two events were held: a movie screening on Oct. 10, and a Halloween party on Oct. 27. Both were very successful.
Approximately 50 students attended a screening of “Buyer Beware” while sampling some Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate. On Oct. 27, The Gentleman’s Club served as a feature performer at the Fair Trade Halloween Party, which included more Fair Trade goods and information on what Fair Trade is and why it should be available on campus.
When asked about the reasons for supporting this cause, John Leschak, senior criminology and justice studies major, said, “In today’s global age, we must realize the consequences of our choices are multi-generational as well as multi-geographic,?for our children’s well-being.”?
Mike Pfirrmann, senior computer science major, said, “Fair trade seems to be capitalism’s answer to wealth redistribution. It allows conscientious members of a wealthy society such as our own to avoid exploiting producers in other countries with our daily purchases.”
The purpose of getting Fair Trade on campus is to provide students with a socially conscious option. Like Green Mountain coffee, which is available in the C-Store, Starbucks also has a Fair Trade blend.? As active consumers inside the campus and outside, students hold a lot of sway in terms of community influence.?By purchasing Fair Trade products, students can exercise their influence and opinions every time they buy coffee at the on-campus Starbucks.
“I think Fair Trade is a great thing,” Amberson said. “And if it sells, I have no problem in reordering it for future semesters.”
The permanence of this coffee in the library is dependent on the reaction of the student body.?It is an opportunity for students and faculty alike to take a step toward addressing the dilemma of poverty and take an active role in making a change.