Catholic Relief Services looking to make Marquette a fair trade campus

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Catholic Relief Services will have to work with campus food provider Sodexo to implement a fair trade campus. Photo by Yue Yin/

Catholic Relief Services set plans to turn Marquette into a fair trade campus, starting with a Sodexo directors meeting Jan. 29.

“We plan to get Marquette University to be fair trade certified by serving fair trade items at all the places on campus that serve food. It only has to be a few items (I.E. bananas, sugar, coffee),” said Dennis Aloia, a CRS student ambassador, in an email. “Being a Jesuit school, we preach values such as human dignity and looking at the needs of the whole person. Making (Marquette) fair trade would be living out some of these values.”

Fair trade “creates equitable trading partnerships,” Aloia said. This ensures that farmers and workers who sell their goods get a fair wage in addition to getting them out of poverty.

A key player in fair trade campus effort is Sodexo, the sole on-campus food service provider in the dining halls.

“To consider Marquette a Fair Trade University, we have to have two fair trade certified items in our campus outlets such as the dining halls, Brews, Marquette Place, etc.,” said Kayce Scherzer, a CRS student ambassador, in an email. “Sodexo is the provider of dining hall food, we need their cooperation to make Marquette Fair Trade certified.”

Since the meeting has yet to take place, Sodexo had little information to add.

“As it stands right now, we already use a number of fair trade products on campus and will work with this group to better understand their mission and goals,” said Sodexo General Manager Kevin Gilligan.

Scherzer said the process to becoming a fair trade university is not an easy one. CRS created a five step system for accomplishing the plan.

“It is a fairly lengthy process with a lot of steps, the challenge is getting everyone on board who we need to get on board because financially, it may be a bit more expensive,” Aloia said in an email.

The first step would be to form a fair trade committee, which includes seven CRS ambassadors, a faculty member and an organizer, among others. Next would be to contact campus outlets followed by sourcing fair trade at events and meetings. After that, CRS plans fair trade campus events and activities.

The final step would be getting the fair trade resolution passed. For that to happen, both Marquette University Student Government and University President Michael Lovell have to approve it.