Engineers Promote Fair Trade At U of W

(WINDSOR, ON) – Engineers Without Borders students at The University of Windsor will show their support for fair trade this week during Canada’s first national Fair Trade Campus event, happening September 23 to 27.

The celebration is an outcome of a new generation of student-led activism, where passionate individuals are finding new and creative ways to engage their fellow student-body and campus administrations.

"The support for fair trade has started with us, the students, and our drive to push for a better and more sustainable world," says Tania Farah, Fair Trade Lead at Engineers Without Boarders. "By supporting fair trade we can help promote systemic change within our own community as well as others around us," Farah continued. "Once people start to see that it is really worth supporting fair trade, we hope to see it on a much larger scale."

Throughout the week, students wearing a fair trade banana costume will be speaking with campus members about fair trade. Engineers Without Boarders has also planned a scavenger hunt, where participants will have the chance to win gift certificates for Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit organization that sells fair trade handicrafts from around the globe.

Students and staff on campus can also look forward to Fair Trade Happy Hours, which will take place every day of the week. Campus-goers looking for free coffee and tea will need to stay up-to-date with the student’s Facebook page, "Fair Trade Campus Week!! Windsor Chapter," and be sure to bring their own mug!

Sean McHugh, Executive Director of The Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN), said, “What we’ve seen is that many of these events lead to strong collaboration with other campus stakeholders, who are often keen on developing strong sustainable procurement policies. We’ve seen this at UBC, SFU and the University of Guelph in the past. And this year, McGill, Brock and Selkirk College have achieved formal recognition of their commitment to sustainable procurement.”

Organized by the CFTN and Fairtrade Canada, the week-long celebration has been made possible by the strong collaborative work of student groups, administrative staff, and private enterprises across the country.

"Fair Trade Campus Week is the first nationally coordinated campus event, and the largest fair trade event in Canada," McHugh said. "Thirty universities, representing all ten provinces will be taking part in the event. The event is about spreading awareness about fair trade and showcasing the leadership of Canadian universities in making changes to their procurement policies—and the impact that this is having globally.”

In support of the event, Glee Gum, Cadbury, La Siembra Co-operative (Camino), Divine Chocolate, Peter Piper Pepper and Numi Tea donated products to be used in promotions during the event.

"Businesses in Canada have always taken a strong role in making fair trade a viable option for consumers in Canada,” said Michael Zelmer, Director of Communications at Fairtrade Canada. “Their support is huge in making these events a success."

Zelmer continued, "Large-scale events such as these demonstrate that fair trade is a growing phenomenon in Canada. We’re delighted to see Canadian campuses taking a leading role in ensuring farmers and workers in developing countries receive fair pay and the means to develop their own communities."

The CFTN and Fairtrade Canada have recently redeveloped the Fair Trade Campus Program, a program designed to encourage and recognize support for fair trade products on campuses in Canada.

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Ian Shalapata
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