Social Justice Club hosts fair trade bingo night
A nervous chatter filled the hall in upstairs Hagan on Friday October 13. Students sat with bated breath as they hoped their luck would hold out for a chance to win prizes like a Patagonia gift card, a Fitbit, and other Fair-trade products. Fair-trade bingo, hosted by the Social Justice Ambassadors Club, was a night to promote fair-trade products and educate the students on campus of the importance of fair-trade.
Fair-trade is the process in which companies pay their producers, like farmers, fair price for their products. This is in order to support sustainable farming and helps those farmers break from the cycle of poverty. This seems like common sense, right? But so many companies and brands that we know and love do not promise to pay fair wages for fair labor.
Fair trade not only allows for workers to be paid a fair amount, but also ensures that none of the products these companies produce will harm the environment they are made from. Neydi Ramirez, Assumption College Junior and member of the Social Justice club explains, “Fair-trade promotes wellbeing for the environment and helps people get out of the cycle of poverty. It helps end the cycle all together, that’s why it’s so important.”
Ramirez also explains that fair-trade hits closer to home than you might think. “I thought fair-trade only affected people in third world countries, but it also applies to people in the United States. Some farmers here don’t even get fair wages.” Farmers within the U.S do not always receive fair pay. Examples of U.S based companies that do promise to pay fair wages are Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s.
Assumption’s Greenhounds also came to the event, offering baked goods made with almost all fair-trade products. Jackie Ryan, Assumption College Junior and member of Greenhounds, says, “There were some challenges. A lot of fair trade products are not always marketed at the shops that we go to everyday. With clubs like Social Justice and Greenhounds, which are focusing on fair trade initiatives, I think it’s important to find fair trade companies and support them.”
The importance of spreading awareness for fair-trade is significant when you see how few companies in our everyday trips to the grocery store actually make the promise to be fair trade. Clubs like Greenhounds and Social Justice are great gateways to educating ourselves, and encouraging big brands to engage in these just practices.
When asked about what the Social Justice Club does in more detail, president Brooke Mega says, “We educate and bring advocacy about social justice issues on campus. We focus on topics such as hunger and homelessness and the migration crisis, fair trade, and climate change just to name a few.” If you want to find out more information about the issue of fair trade, consider looking into Social Justice or Greenhounds here on campus, or you can find great facts at www.fairtradeamerica.org.
Patricia Sliney, a junior, studies English. She is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.