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News & Stories: 2009-10

Fair Trade Fair lines Hekman Library lobby
December 3, 2009

Last year, Calvin senior Jared Renaud Christmas shopped at the annual Fair Trade Fair hosted by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC). He bought jewelry for his mother and coffee for his father.

Students shopping at the fair trade fairThis year, Renaud is one of the SJC leaders responsible for running the fair, held from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday, December 3 and 4, in the Hekman Library lobby. “It’s largely a team effort,” said Renaud. “It’s getting people involved and informed about fair trade.”

Fair compensation

Fair trade is a movement that advocates for equitable compensation for the original producers of goods such as clothing, jewelry, coffee and household items. The original producers of these items typically live in developing countries.

There will be a wealth of fair trade products available for shoppers at this year’s Fair Trade Fair, the fifth sponsored by the SJC. Coffee supplier Bean by Bean will sell its signature roast. “It’s a coffee company that flies directly from the producer and puts part of its profits into development,” said Renaud. Better Way Imports will be selling Freeset bags. Clothing Matters, local purveyors of eco-friendly hemp and linen clothing, will sell a range of items at the fair. The Calvin Campus Store will sell items from its fair-trade line. And Global Gifts and the Saugatuck-based Otavalito will sell a range of fair trade clothing, jewelry and household products.

Veteran vendors

All of the vendors to this year’s event are are veterans of the Calvin fair, said Renaud: “It sounded like they had quite a good experience with the event and were excited about coming back." Members of the SJC will also be on hand to help out with the selling. “I’m looking forward to interacting with the vendors and seeing why they’re involved with fair trade,” Renaud said.

He said the fair organizers hope that students, faculty and staff will do some of the their Christmas shopping at the fair—and learn a little bit about why fair trade matters. Renaud, a history major who hopes to be an archaeologist, said he’s learned a lot about fair trade since he transferred to Calvin from Burlington County College in his home state of New Jersey: “After learning about issues,” he said, “I thought it was best to be active instead of passively going by.”

~by Myrna Anderson, communications and marketing

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