Many say that the Fairfield University campus keeps students in a bubble that separates them from the “real world.” However, Students for Social Justice (S4SJ) is hoping to break barriers by bringing in global awareness.
Yesterday, the Fair Trade Sale took place in the LLBCC, selling Fair Trade products from countries like Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Mexico.
Fair Trade is social movement that helps developing countries sustain a fair place for workers and stable economy. Fair good products come from factories that pay workers a fair compensation and safe environment to work in.
As students explored the variety of products displayed, a video about Ten Thousand Villages played in the background. The organization, based in Akron, Pa., encourages the fair trade movement by selling products from artisan groups representing more than 38 countries. According to its brochure, the artisans seek to “improve and preserve traditions” by crafting items reflecting their cultures.
Products such as jewelry, scarves, home goods and chocolate were sold, with price ranges ranging from $8 to $40. In addition, Alta Gracia clothing that can be found in the university bookstore was also available for sale.
One table with a sign that said, “Craft Sale: Support Nicaraguan Artisans,” had a display of hand-made items from the country. Janet Latuga ’11, a marketing major, ran the craft sale that had products of different impoverished artisans groups.
Latuga orders products from the artists through Universidad Centroamericana in Nicaragua. The Jesuit university gives loans to the artisans to provide a start to their work.
She worked with Winston Tellis, professor of Information Systems & Operations, who works closely with crafts organizations from underdeveloped countries.
Another table advertised products from d.Saks, a company that sells environmentally friendly, cotton bags made by artisans in Paraguay. Delicia Alarcon ‘14 founded the business in the summer of 2009. Alarcon seeks to provide income to Paraguayan families.
Ricky Solano ’14 is a member of S4SJ and hoped that by helping to bring Fair Trade the club is bringing to the University students a “sense of awareness.” He encourages many to “stand behind S4SJ to support all of [their] endeavors so that a difference can be made.”
S4SJ just wants to help underdeveloped countries, according to Laura Stakey ’14.
Freshman and S4SJ member Cristina Richardson was a key player in organizing the event, Stakey said. She was the main coordinator who helped contact many of the artisans in order to bring Fair Trade to the university. She also enlisted the help of Alarcon and Latuga, who she knew were already involved in working with crafts from other countries.
All proceeds from the event will go to Alarcon and Latuga so that they can keep helping the communities that their products are from, according to Richardson.
“I was really happy about the turnout,” she said. “More people seemed interested in this than I had expected. I can only hope that they learned about Fair Trade and will purchase Fair Trade in the future.
Richardson said that S4SJ will try to make Fair Trade Sale a biannual event next year.