We are torchbearers in a long relay that started many years before we even set foot on campus, whose brilliant flames were kindled and rekindled by countless people other than our team and our chapter, and whose fire we hope to pass on to the next generation of students who care in the month and years ahead. It is important to bear in mind that our story is simply one piece of the puzzle towards the University of Guelph getting designated as a Fair Trade Campus, a Juggernaut puzzle that involved many students, faculty, the administration, the university’s catering service, other EWB chapters and the CFTN.
The Engineers Without Borders chapter on campus has been raising awareness about Fair Trade for many years before most of the current chapter set foot on campus. Our
predecessors gave out Fair Trade chocolates at outreach events, made a giant signpost indicating the distances and directions of locations that serve Fair Trade coffee on campus and made one of those giant cut-outs where you can stick your face on the person in the old Fairtrade logo. Though we do not know their full stories, we do know that they played an important part in our campus becoming where we are today, and they are surely very happy to hear the news of the campus’ designation!
Likely at least partially due to student demand, the university first started to switch to Fairtrade certified coffee six years ago. In the last year or two, Camino’s Fairtrade certified chocolates also started sprouting up across the university. A lot more recently, Fairtrade certified teas also started popping up on campus.
These are the stories of Daniel, Spencer, Melissa, Chris, Mariam, Emily, Kevin, Vinosha, Kathryn, Kaela, Jeremy, Keeran, myself and many other people in our chapter:
In addition to those memorable moments, other memorable moments include when our team organized a Fair Trade movie night, a reverse trick-or-trick on Halloween (where we went around the neighborhood and sang Christmas carols before talking about Fair Trade) and participated in the national Disruption event.
We hope that they may be of some use to the Fair Trade teams across the country that is part of this movement.
Victor Hugo once said “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”! We are confident that the time for Fair Trade has come! We are confident that we are on the
cusp of great change, a tipping point consisting of a massive wave of new Fair Trade Campuses springing up across Canada, of increased consumer awareness and activism, of the drumbeats of Fair Trade reverberating throughout Canada. We are confident that we are not alone in the belief that the global economic system often exploits workers in developing countries. That we are not alone in the belief that tomorrow for everyone on the planet can be and should be brighter and more just than it is today, and that we all have a personal responsibility to make it happen. We believe that development should address the root causes of inequality instead of glamorous band-aid solutions, focus on capacity building and empowerment rather than simple charity, and work to systematically and sustainably eradicate poverty as well as other barriers to achieving good qualities of life and self-determination. By doing that, we can all realize the universal dream of a more just, caring and sustainable tomorrow.