For years, Gannon University has been laying the groundwork for a partnership that will transform the lives of those in the community and abroad.
And this semester, the years of collaboration will come together as Gannon partners with Just Haiti, Out of the Grey Coffee and Metz Culinary Management.
Just Haiti, a nonprofit organization, works at bringing fair-trade partnerships to coffee growers throughout Haitian communities.
For decades, Haiti has been dealing with the hardship of sustained repression through government corruption and environmental disaster.
Fair-trade pricing provides the growers and their families with opportunities to become financially stable independent of outside assistance, providing for future growth and sustainable communities.
Through the work of the Center for Social Concerns, students from Gannon have traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti, with the Alternative Break Service Trip program.
Students and staff members travel to the region, work alongside the coffee growers and immerse themselves in the work of this corporation.
The experience itself is life-changing.
“Haiti opened my eyes to the world of fair trade and integral human development making me a more conscious consumer and more able to see all the love in the world,” said Melissa Bronder, past participant and current ABST co-leader for the trip.
This partnership has transformed the hearts of participants for years, as do many of the experiences offered through the ABST program.
With a goal of helping to spread the mission of Just Haiti, Gannon has worked toward bringing Haitian coffee to the campus.
“This is a concrete example of how we are living our mission of community with our global human family,” said Jessie Badach Hubert, director of the Center for Social Concerns.
“Our ABSTs are about seeking mutuality in our relationships and this partnership is a way that we’re making this a reality.”
A connection with a local coffee shop, Out of the Grey, was key to implementing this plan.
Out of the Grey is located about 20 minutes away from campus, offering a welcoming, Christian environment and warm cups of coffee.
They take pride in their work, emphasizing that they purchase products that are organic, fair-trade certified and sustainably sourced.
“The partnership gives back to the original source of this coffee and shows our respect to the traditional, hardworking farmers in this developing country, along with their way of life,” said Jack Barton, Out of the Grey CEO.
The presence of Out of the Grey coffee is all throughout Gannon’s campus, as it supplies the various food venues with roasts.
In order to truly bring Just Haiti coffee to Gannon, Out of the Grey and Metz Culinary Management, formulated a business plan that financially allows students to purchase Just Haiti coffee on campus.
To kick off this amazing partnership, the Center for Social Concerns, alongside past and present Haiti ABST leaders, hosted an event on the first floor of Nash Library on Tuesday.
For a two-hour span, the students, members of the CSC, Barton and Metz representatives spread the mission of what this coffee embodies.
“I think seeing it all come together shows that we’re honoring our Haitian friends in our hearts and our actions,” said Melia Gasbarre, past Haiti ABST co-leader.
During the event, students were able to learn about the Haiti ABST, how coffee is made, what Just Haiti has done for communities and how Gannon is becoming involved.
At the end, students were given a taste of the product and cards to remind them of how they can take a step toward change.
Just Haiti coffee products will be located throughout food service areas on campus with a specially designed AirPod and specific coffee sleeves.
This partnership shows that with just one cup of coffee, the lives of many can be changed.