Gannon hosts Fair Trade sale

Gannon University’s Center for Social Concerns is looking to bring some affordable Christmas cheer this holiday season by having its fourth annual Fair Trade Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday in Room 219 of the Waldron Campus Center.

The Fair Trade Sale features hundreds of fine-crafted goods from countries across the world. But what makes these goods “fair trade” is that there are no middleman companies sucking away profit from the laborers of the products.

Jessie Badach Hubert, assistant director of the Center for Social Concerns, said that doing some Christmas shopping the fair trade way is preferable to shopping at corporate retail stores like Wal-Mart because the laborers receive more money for their toil.

“Instead you’re helping folks be more self-sufficient in their businesses around the world by supporting their crafts, handiwork and their livelihood as families in terms of their income,” Hubert said.

“And also you’re taking a stand against companies who choose not to pay their workers fair wages in terms of the people who produce those goods.”

According to Hubert, fair trade companies have many safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of the goods produced, including detecting warning signs of environmentally unfriendly conditions, employee discrimination and forced child labor.

The Center for Social Concerns works with SERRV, a world organization that monitors and encourages fair trade globally.

For the Fair Trade Sale, Hubert said Gannon orders products from SERRV’s catalog of fair trade goods and then sells them at determined prices.

The Center for Social Concerns then gets a percentage of the money raised during the sale.

Hubert said that anyone who attends the event can shop for some unique yet affordable Christmas gifts.

Then when the receiver of the gift asks the giver where he or she bought the gift, the giver can inform the receiver about the perks of fair trade.

“You can give a really unique and meaningful gift, which is the gift itself and also maybe the chance to talk about what fair trade is,” Hubert said.

“It’s a gift on multiple levels.”

The message behind fair trade also reminds shoppers to be aware of and try to avoid the high consumerist culture that Christmastime brings, Hubert said.

“I think sometimes Christmas can be very loud and noisy and stuff-driven,” she said. “Part of our mission as people of faith is to cut through the stuff and get to the heart of relationships and bring about love in the world in the way that Christmas is about bringing love to the world in a very real, very human way.

“So what better way to do that than by connecting in real human ways with other people across the world to support their work directly?”

Hubert said that the atmosphere of the event will be sure to put shoppers in the Christmas spirit with the help of decorations and Christmas music.

Plus, a few minutes of shopping will help alleviate the stress of the final weeks of the semester.

“When you’re in the heart of finals week and things are getting stressful and you want to take 20 minutes to go Christmas shopping for someone you care about, this is a great way to do that on campus,” Hubert said.

“It’s super easy, really cool and really meaningful.”

Students looking for deals will be pleased to know the most expensive item at the sale will be around $35, according to Hubert.

She also said that this year’s crop features a lot of fresh coffee mixes and chocolates, perfect for any inexpensive gift.

“It’s really good quality because its harvested sustainably and raised in really good environmental conditions,” Hubert said.

“And of course it’s fair trade because of how the workers are treated and paid.”

Becky Iscrupe, a senior occupational therapy major, said she would recommend that  students check out the Fair Trade Sale.

“They have awesome stuff, and decently priced,” Iscrupe said.

“It raises awareness and goes to a good cause and they’re good Christmas presents.

“There’s a variety of unique things there that you wouldn’t find in normal Wal-Mart or at a mall.”

Hubert also said that in addition to raising awareness about fair trade, the Fair Trade Sale also serves as a fundraiser for the Alternative Break Service Trip Program. This year, students and faculty are planning to participate in five break service trips to Washington, D.C., Joplin, Mo., Ontario, Haiti and El Salvador.

According to Hubert, the Fair Trade Sale is incredibly important as a fundraiser for the ABST Program.

“ABSTs are an important part of what Gannon’s about, especially in terms of giving people opportunities to give service and critical thinking and learning, exploring their commitment to an increasingly globalizing world,” Hubert said.

“Anything we can do to support the ABST program to give more students the chance to go, to go more affordably, is another dimension of how this is a great gift to the campus.”


[email protected]