Leaders in Fair Trade

SU first Fair Trade University in the Pacific Northwest

Written by Mike Thee
Photography by Chris Kalinko
May 19, 2015
Seattle University has become the first Fair Trade University in the Pacific Northwest and one of only 26 schools in the country to earn that designation by Fair Trade Colleges and Universities USA. The campaign for Fair Trade status culminated in the university’s recent adoption of a Fair Trade resolution.

The Fair Trade movement supports and advances economic systems that help international farmers, artisans and other workers to lift themselves out of poverty while protecting the environment. “This is so in line with our mission,” says Sue Jackels, professor of chemistry, who has been principally involved with the effort. “It’s an educational initiative to have Fair Trade products integrated into the university's events and operations.”

A grant from Fair Trade Colleges and Universities USA supported both the campaign and the new coffee. Here on campus, Jackels and Quan Le, associate professor of economics, worked with students in the Global Business Club to move the Fair Trade initiative forward. The resolution was supported by President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and passed by the Student Government of Seattle University (SGSU)

By signing the agreement, Seattle University pledges to make Fair Trade-certified products available through its dining facilities, catered events, offices
and stores. The initiative also includes an educational component that encourages faculty to incorporate Fair Trade issues into their teaching. SU is well-positioned for this, particularly with its food service partner Bon Appétit's commitment to Fair Trade.

As the Fair Trade resolution underwent its journey toward passage, Jackels collaborated with students and colleagues at the Universidad Centroamericana Managua (UCA Managua), SU’s Jesuit sister school and farmers in the Nicaraguan coffee farmer cooperative, CECOSEMAC (“Aroma of Coffee” Union of Multiple-service Cooperatives), to develop a new Fair Trade coffee available at the university. Café Ambiental, or “Environmental Coffee,” is sourced from CECOSEMAC, which represents more than 200 farms and seven cooperatives in the coffee growing region of Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

fair trade The Fair Trade movement supports and advances economic systems that help international farmers, artisans and other workers to lift themselves out of poverty while protecting the environment, which is in line with Seattle U's mission.