By Samantha League, Communications Coordinator
Academy of Our Lady of Peace Becomes 29th Fair Trade School in Nation
OLP is proud to announce its official designation as the 29th Fair Trade School in the nation and the 1st Fair Trade High School in San Diego. Fair Trade is an economic system that ensures consumers the products they buy were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment. Fair Trade Campaigns officially recognizes schools in the U.S. that are committed to educating students about the issues of Fair Trade and sourcing Fair Trade products on campus.
OLP’s certification as a Fair Trade School is due to the work of Diana Arce ‘18, Kiana Yazdani Bosdet ‘18 and Vivian Mateos Zuniga ‘18. Vivian learned about Fair Trade through her Social Justice class while Diana and Kiana learned about it through a Peace Commission Club meeting. When they learned that the Peace Commission Club would not be offered again this year, the girls jumped on the opportunity to form a new club, the Fair Trade Commission, in its place.
“I have always been very passionate about advocating for the less fortunate and doing whatever I can to help, so when we learned about universities that were Fair Trade certified, I thought, why not OLP?” Diana said.
Right now, 2.6 billion people are living on less than $2 a day, and 68% of this population are farmers. By paying farmers and producers fair prices, Fair Trade provides financial security. Fair Trade products are also held to high standards: harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited while fair wages and safe working conditions are required. Today, Fair Trade is benefiting more than 1.2 million farming families in 70 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Making OLP a Fair Trade school seemed like such an important step this Catholic school had to take,” Kiana said. “I was especially inspired by my religion classes, Peace Commission Club and my family to do something that promotes good in the world. I knew that Fair Trade was the way because I am passionate about justice and equality.”
OLP strives to cultivate environmental stewards, seekers of social justice and global citizens who are dedicated to the “love of God and the dear neighbor without distinction.” Becoming a Fair Trade School allows us to take the next step towards our mission on an institutional level.
“(OLP) as a community honors the dignity of people,” Kiana continued. “We have a responsibility to promote justice and care for God’s creation. Fair Trade is not only beneficial to the consumers because of better quality goods, but it also gives workers the opportunity (to have) a better quality of life. This system shows respect towards the workers who make our everyday lives possible, and to the planet.”
The girls’ ultimate goal is to have every product on OLP’s campus, ranging from sport uniforms to food to office supplies, be Fair Trade. They are starting with the vending machines.
In the meantime, students, faculty and staff can start incorporating Fair Trade products into their daily lives. As Diana suggests, start with caffeine. “Everyone likes a good cup of tea or coffee in the mornings and there are many brands whose caffeinated products are Fair Trade.”