Where were you when the campus became Fair Trade?

Friday, September 28, 2012

astronaut mask with a reflection of the uOttawa campus

The day is quickly arriving and it will be a race to the finish. The University of Ottawa is only weeks away from becoming a Fair Trade Certified Campus. That's right, thanks to the hard work of the students at the uOttawa Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and the commitment made by Food Services and Charwells, the University of Ottawa will meet the criteria for becoming a Fair Trade Campus hopefully before the holiday season.

I really wanted to take a moment to acknowledge this monumental task. First, almost all the heavy lifting was done by one student, Ryan Ward-Davies. He took on the project as a member of the EWB and has worked tirelessly to get the campus certified.

Second, I want to acknowledge the work done by Food Services and Chartwells. Getting the campus to become Fair Trade Certified is not as easy as flicking a switch. There were a lot of tough decisions to be taken and sacrifices to be made.

So here is the breakdown of what a campus needs to do to be certified.
  • All the coffee on campus (that is not franchised) must be Fair Trade.
  • At least 3 types of Fair Trade tea must be available at all locations.
  • At least 1 Fair Trade chocolate bar must be available at each location.
You know what, you can check out the complete guidelines in the Fair Trade Canada action guide.

Now I know that this could be construed as a weak gesture. I mean if you think about it, Tim Horton, Second Cup, and Starbucks don't have to change their coffees to Fair Trade because they are franchises. But that's okay because as we move forward we are sending a clear message that Fair Trade is the new normal, so get in line. 

And by the way, why stop at just coffee, tea, and chocolate bars. Why not help us make more of the campus Fair Trade. If you have ideas, we want them. Send your thoughts to sustainable@uottawa.ca.

~ jON - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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