Early in January, students, staff and guests gathered to celebrate the designation of Humber College Lakeshore Campus as a Fair Trade Campus, the first college campus in Ontario to achieve this designation. The achievement is the culmination of many years of work by the Business School’s International Development students and staff at Humber College.
The Fair Trade designation commits the campus to supporting the goals of the Fair Trade movement including ensuring that agricultural producers in developing countries receive an equitable share of the profits from the sale of their goods. As a result, Fair Trade products like coffee, tea and chocolate will be more visible and more available on the Lakeshore campus.
“Fairtrade designation is not an all or nothing approach,” said Roma Malik, Acting Sustainability Manager, and a driving force behind the achievement. “It means we are working together with Campus Services and our other partners to ensure we are continuously evaluating and increasing our percentage of fair trade procurement as a school.”
In 2012, Humber’s International Development students began grassroots advocacy to encourage Humber’s administration to pursue the designation by hosting several Fair Trade campus events. They started the Humber Public Interest Research Group (HummPIRG) group to focus their advocacy, and launched a Fair Trade Campus week in 2012. Several students toured Humber campuses dressed as fair trade products, including bananas.
“One of my favourite memories was in 2014 when Yanni and Erin, students from the HummPIRG group dressed up as Fair Trade Bananas and walked the entire Lakeshore Campus giving out Fair Trade bananas in an effort to create awareness,” said Wanda Buote, Principal of the Lakeshore Campus at the event in January. “[Their] leadership over the last 6 years has proven that [the students’] voice speaks volumes and that we are all listening.”
In July 2017, Humber’s Office of Sustainability formed a Fair Trade Steering Committee to start the process of applying for the designation for the Lakeshore Campus, which was awarded in December. The Steering Committee’s next goal is to obtain Fair Trade designation for the North Campus by early 2019.
Students Erin Drummond and Yanni Thepanya with Wanda Buote