Fair Trade is a nationwide organization that helps developing countries by labeling their products “fair trade certified,” indicating those products come from farms that have been certified to provide fair wages and safe working conditions, according to the Fair Trade website.
Fair trade products also make sure farmers obey international environmental standards. Such as organic conversion, reforestation, water conservation and environmental education.
UCF is in the process of becoming fair trade certified, and a group of four students gets together once a week during the fall semester to table for fair trade and try and get UCF to be certified.
In order for UCF to become fair trade certified they have to: reach out to more campus outlets to increase the availability of fair trade products, work with more campus offices and catering to source fair trade products, and pass a fair trade resolution according to the UCF Fair Trade campaign.
One of UCF’s fair trade leaders, Jordana Khandakji, sophomore environmental studies major, said Fair Trade campaigns are important to all universities especially UCF, one of the largest universities in the country.
“Being an environmental studies major, looking for sustainable efforts and eco-friendly organizations is always something I want to do,” Khandakji said.
This Fair Trade group helps bring awareness to different products sold specifically at UCF. Products like the Italian roast at Starbucks, chocolate bars, and other products sold at Java city in the library.
Glorimar Rivera, a fellow sophomore and environmental studies major, talked about why fair trade was important to UCF.
“A lot of students can be involved, we don’t have to make a big change, just more of a small change,” Rivera said.
Rivera wants more students to know about fair trade, and the products you can buy that are certified. She personally buys the chai spice tea.
Another student tabling Nov. 16 was Shawn Harper, a senior environmental studies major. Harper said he was really big on keeping corporations at UCF in check and holding them accountable.
“Being on campus and making people aware is what it needs to keep it alive,” said Harper.
Throughout the day, other students walked up to the fair-trade table to ask about what it was. Most of the students knew nothing about fair trade, one of the students tabling would give them a statement about the organization and what they are trying to do at UCF. The fair traders also handed out stickers saying, “do the ripe thing” and “thanks a bunch!”
“My favorite sticker is a picture of an avocado saying ‘Avo great day!’,” said Hanneke Martin, junior environmental studies major.
Martin talked about why tabling for Fair Trade at UCF was so important.
“It is important to use our powers as consumers to make a difference to make things more ethical and sustainable,” Martin said.
Martin is avid on making UCF a fair trade certified school.
“Education about anything is important, making it more aware at UCF can help spread awareness on a wider scale,” Martin said.
Rivera offered a final piece of advice for any student interested in joining their fair-trade team.
“Don’t feel bad if you’re not saving the world and rescuing sea turtles,” Rivera said. “Be more conscious about what’s in your food, and just give a damn about your environment.”