Saint Joseph’s Earns Fair Trade University Status

Students, administration commit to expanding fair trade options on campus

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (April 17, 2014) — Saint Joseph’s University recently earned recognition as a Fair Trade University, as determined by Fair Trade Colleges and Universities. Only 19 other higher education institutions have been granted this status. The recognition comes as a result of the proactive measures taken over the last 10 years to educate and spread awareness of the fair trade movement, and to establish fair trade options in campus dining halls. The University will celebrate this designation on Thursday, April 24, at 11 a.m., in the Campion Student Center. Free fair trade chocolate, coffee and tea will be available as part of the celebration.

Fair Trade USA defines fair trade as an economic system that provides opportunities for international farmers, artisans and workers to lift themselves out of poverty. Fair trade seeks to enable economic development through equitable trading partnerships and assures consumers that the products they purchase were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.

Sociologist Keith Brown, Ph.D., has supported students who’ve led efforts to establish a presence for fair trade options on campus. In 2013, he published Buying into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality and Consumption, which discusses the limits and possibilities involved in trying to change the world through shopping. Brown has also taught a course entitled “Fair Trade Coffee: From Co-op to Cup, designed to teach students about the production of fair trade coffee and how it benefits Central American farmers. The course culminates in a trip to La Corona, Nicaragua, to experience coffee farming firsthand.

“There are almost 90 universities currently vying for fair trade status in the U.S. and over 1,000 that have been certified globally,” Brown notes. “This designation is a nod to efforts by SJU that span years and have been supported by many across the University, including the Faith-Justice Institute and the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics.”

The fair trade designation requires colleges and universities to earn five “badges” that prove their commitment to embedding fair trade principles and practices into the social and intellectual life on campus. SJU’s efforts include offering at least two fair trade options in its dining facilities, raising awareness about fair trade on campus and encouraging members of the campus community to use fair trade products in offices and at campus events.

SJU earned its final badge after the Student Senate passed a fair trade resolution in fall 2013, and when University President C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J. ’72 and Vice President for Mission E. Springs Steele, Ph.D., endorsed the Student Senate resolution in April 2014.

“This designation directly aligns with the University’s mission and Jesuit heritage,” says Fr. Gillespie.  “We strive to embody the ideals of engaged citizenship, social justice, and living as men and women for others. These principles are clearly reflected in the tenets of fair trade.”

For more information about fair trade status and more, visit

Background: Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University advances the professional and personal ambitions of men and women by providing a demanding, yet supportive, educational experience. One of only 141 schools with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and AACSB business school accreditation, Saint Joseph's is home to 4,500 full-time undergraduates and 3,200 graduate, part-time and doctoral students. Steeped in the 450-year Jesuit tradition of scholarship and service, Saint Joseph's was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for General Community Service. The University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.

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