10/31/2014 12:20:57 PM

Fair Trade in Focus

Monday, April 28, 2014

By Mary Barrett '14

Transparency and consumer knowledge were the focus areas of this year’s Fair Trade Colleges & Universities Conference at Siena College.

Beautycounter Cosmetics Vice President for Health and Safety Mia Davis delivered the keynote address, which focused on a central theme of the day, respect for the environment. Davis described the chemicals that are in everyday cosmetics and discussed how they impact people’s bodies and the environment. She also explained her company’s mission to provide cosmetics that are free of harmful chemicals.

The four-year-old conference’s content was certainly more than skin deep.

Siena students, their counterparts from other colleges and universities, and business leaders delivered presentations and participated in panels. Siena students shared their involvement with the Fair Trade movement, which took hold on campus in 2010 when Siena became New York’s first college and just the third college in the country to earn Fair Trade status.

“As a Fair Trade institution, we emphasize how important it is that our products do not rely on child labor or forced labor, that we commit to practices of non-discrimination, gender equity and women’s economic empowerment, and that we demonstrate a deep respect for the environment,” said Professor of Political Science Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Ph.D. “As a Franciscan institution, our mission directly affirms these practices as we reach out to local and organic farmers as well as smaller entrepreneurs and marginal producers in the developing world to source our products.”

Sociology major Dustin Stiffler ’14, economics majors Alana Strassfiled ’14 and Evan Peter ’14 and environmental studies major Casey Gallagher ’15 made a presentation titled “Fair Trade Guatemala: From Raw Material to Economic Empowerment.” They explained Guatemala’s history and economics and the role that women have in fair trade.

Environmental Club President Amanda Stasiewicz ’14 is proud of being part of the Fair Trade movement at Siena.

“As a (Resident Assistant), I like to be able to bring this back to the residents and think of ways to challenge and empower students to become conscious consumers,” said Stasiewicz.

Participants were able to practice their newly-learned conscious consumerism during the Fair Trade Bazaar, which had Fair Trade products including soap, chocolate and lip balm for sale.

Click here to learn more about the Fair Trade movement at Siena College.
 


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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