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St Mary’s University College has successfully launched its campaign to gain the prestigious Fairtrade status in the College. The combined efforts of members of the Global Dimension in Education Project, the Student’s Union and several dedicated staff members from across all areas of the College, produced an exciting and enthusiastic launch pad for the campaign. The main aim of the campaign is to raise the profile of Fairtrade in the College by providing Fairtrade alternatives to as many products as possible in the College’s snack bars, vending machines and canteen.

The Fairtrade Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.

The Fairtrade Foundation encourage retailers to buy commodities direct from the producer, at a fair price, which allows the producers to pay their employees a fair wage, thus providing a better standard of living.

Already 767 staff and students have added their support to the campaign by voting online. This coincided with a poster campaign featuring staff and students from across the College.

The campaign kicked off recently with the ‘Fairtrade Fashions’ event held in the College on Tuesday 2nd May 2006. Background information and a history of Fairtrade  was given by John Sharp from Oxfam, and detailed information on all available products and the free teachers education pack was given by Chris Flack from Co-Op, one of the main Fairtrade retailers.

Danny McKeown and staff provided samples of Fairtrade tea, coffee and snacks for all students and staff throughout the day.  Rachel Surgenor from Pueblos on the Ormeau Road in Belfast supplied a range of ethically produced clothes, jewellery and accessories for the Fairtrade Fashion Show.

Students from all year groups and subject groups participated in the show, emphasizing the College-wide support for the campaign. Those involved included, Fiona Mulholland (Students’ Union President), Laura Doran, Katrina O’Donnell, Fiona Holland, Úna Méabh Herron, Nuala Lauro, Lena Bogwald, Niall O’Reilly, Peter McAtasney, Louise Grant, Aneka McNeill, Rory McKillion, Brian McElwaine and Jack Hanvey, with Steven Hughes as MC.