RRC making effort to become fair trade campus
Will Reimer, CONTRIBUTOR
Red River College is working to become Manitoba’s first fair trade campus, and the college wants students and staff to know about it.
As part of the conditions to gain this title and to promote awareness, RRC participated in Fair Trade Week Sept. 26 to 30. More than 700 people showed up to have free ice cream and learn about fair trade, according to Sara MacArthur, manager of sustainability at RRC.
“That was a really significant opportunity for us to talk to students and staff about fair trade,” said MacArthur. “A lot of people didn’t know that the coffee we serve not belonging to a franchise is fair trade so we wanted to showcase that.” MacArthur said fair trade certified De Luca’s provides coffee that is not being sold at a franchise.
As part of the initiative to become a designated fair trade campus, RRC must host a number of events geared toward increasing exposure of the fair trade options it offers.
Kimberly Tran, a business administration student at RRC, said she didn’t know much about RRC’s fair trade efforts but attended Fair Trade Week.
“I think it was really great,” said Tran, 18. “I think it would be nice if Red River College provided more opportunities like that.”
Despite RRC’s efforts to become Manitoba’s first fair trade designated campus, Tran said the college could do more to raise awareness.
“A lot of people are on social media these days,” said Tran. “I think (RRC) could maybe have a larger presence there.”
According to Fairtrade.ca, fair trade focuses on ensuring small-scale farmers and plantation owners are paid a fair price for their product and can still invest in community projects.
Fairtrade.ca says any campus wanting to become fair trade designated must fulfill three main criteria: a committee ensuring continued commitment must be created, fair trade products must be kept available, and the campus must host events to show that these products are available.
RRC is working to offer at least three fair trade sourced teas wherever teas are sold. It already offers one fair trade chocolate bar—Cadbury Dairy Milk—in each of its vending machines.
Once RRC fulfills the criteria, it will become the first campus in Manitoba—and part of a club of nineteen other campuses in Canada—to be recognized as a fair trade campus.