Creighton University is the first Catholic, Jesuit University to achieve Fair Trade status. The designation is given by Fair Trade Colleges & Universities USA, a national initiative to embed Fair Trade principles within administrative policy and the social and intellectual fabric of academic communities and recognizes the institution’s efforts to support Fair Trade through five established criteria--policies, use of fair trade products where feasible in university-operated/owned outlets, use of these products in university operations such as meetings and special events, Fair Trade education and awareness building on campus and general support of Fair Trade through procurement practices.
The effort to become a Fair Trade university began several years ago, led by now Creighton senior Chris Boitano from Tacoma, Wash. Boitano was a mission coordinator for the Creighton Student’s Union and was inspired to do something following a trip to the Dominican Republic.
“I was so moved when I saw the economic plight of the people during my service trip that I wanted to do something that supported the goal of social justice and economic empowerment in an appropriate way." said Boitano. “Fair Trade universities harness the power of higher education to raise awareness among student, faculty and staff about the benefits of Fair Trade to small –scale producers and workers in the Global South.”
His advocacy has included meetings, presentations, policy development, educational efforts and more. The ongoing campus program will be maintained through the Sustainability Committee as Boitano is graduating in May.
Fair Trade is an economic partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect. It is also an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers and workers in developing countries improve their livelihoods and maintain healthy stewardship of the environment.
Through direct and equitable trade, farming and working families are able to eat better, keep their kids in school, improve health and housing, and invest in the future. The Fair Trade Colleges & Universities initiative is led by Fair Trade USA, Catholic Relief Services, the Fair Trade Federation, and students and faculty from colleges and universities across the country.