Recently, Lynn was honored as a Fair Trade University, making the university second in the state to do so and 48th nationwide. Two students, Megan Selfridge and Gabrielle Monahan, spearheaded the campaign while being led by the Social Impact Lab.
“If you look at the university’s mission statement, you’ll see we take pride in being innovative, international and individualized. Being a Fair Trade Designated campus goes hand-in-hand with that,” said Megan Selfridge, junior. “We’re the 48th university to achieve this in the nation. We’ve completed this faster than anyone else; if that’s not innovation, I don’t know what is.”
After earning the designation faster than any other university by cutting a two-year process down to eight weeks, Lynn solidified their commitment to meet a variety of environmental standards. The main focus of these standards includes the conservation of biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions, limited and safe use of agrochemicals, soil and water management and pest and waste management.
“I’m very excited for this new chapter in Lynn’s history,” said Gabrielle Monahan, senior. “There are many consumers, and people for that matter, who go their whole lives without asking those questions and I’m very proud to be working with a university who is questioning the status quo and who aligns with my beliefs.”
By meeting all of the five essential requirements, passing a Fair Trade Resolution and also making Fair Trade products available on campus, Lynn continues to deepen their relationship into Fair Trade by working with Sodexo. Sodexo has already been using Fair Trade-sourced products and will also serve Vega Coffee, a Nicaraguan Brand introduced by graduate student Rigo Beltran who worked alongside the company during his ambassador corps internship.
The Fair Trade Campaign focuses on how to protect the environment while using their products to help practice sustainability. Roughly 30 percent of Fair Trade producer organizations have invested a portion of their community premiums in environmental initiatives.
“We have planted trees and reduced the amount of pesticides we use by 80 percent in the last ten years. We’ve used the Fair Trade premium to buy environmentally friendly ovens to dry our coffee, which means we no longer need to cut up to 50 acres of forest every year,” said Gerardo Arias, camacho coffee farmer and member of the COOCAFE cooperative in Costa Rica.
In addition to learning about the process while completing it, the Social Impact Lab hosted educational events such as “Chocolate and Chill.” They also invited Laura Peterson, Ben and Jerry’s public elations officer, who explained the company’s mission to have sustainable ethics as one of their education requirements throughout the brand.
By becoming a Fair Trade University and being a more environmentally conscious campus, the Lynn community is able to use their consumer rights to help companies who also have the same overall vision to aid in the effort of helping the planet. Lynn plans to use this distinction to practice the Fair Trade mission by ensuring the products consumers buy are grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.