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Pomona College Recognized as a "Fair Trade College"

Fair Trade Colleges and Universities logo

Pomona College was recognized as a Fair Trade College for its commitment to fair trade products and raising awareness about fair trade issues by the national organization Fair Trade Colleges & Universities, earlier this month. Pomona is only the 11th school nationwide and the second in California to achieve fair trade status. Currently more than 50 colleges and universities are engaged with the Fair Trade Colleges & Universities Campaign.

The effort to achieve the designation for Pomona began last spring and was lead by Charlotte Dohrn ’13, Andrea Diaz ‘15 and Maya Horgan ‘13. Dohrn, who recently had an internship with Fair Trade Claremont, saw the process as way to increase knowledge of fair trade issues on campus.

“We felt that Dining was doing a lot of really good things with fair trade products, and this was an opportunity to gain some recognition and increase the dialogue among students, faculty and staff on campus about fair trade issues,” explains Dohrn. “The national organization is also a great way to draw on the resources and experiences of the other participating colleges and universities.”

To become a Fair Trade College, Pomona had to meet several criteria: create a Fair Trade Committee of students, staff and faculty; offer Fair Trade certified products at campus venues; serve Fair Trade coffee, tea and other products when possible at meetings and events; commit to fair trade education through events, product labeling and in school publications; and pass a fair trade resolution that reflected the College’s commitment to fair trade. ASPC passed a statement of support of a fair trade resolution at their April 2012 meeting, and Pomona College Dining Services has been sourcing fair trade products whenever feasible.

The Fair Trade Committee is currently working with the Coop Store and Fountain to increase their offerings of fair trade products. To foster an on-campus dialogue about a variety of fair trade models, including their strengths and weaknesses, the Committee cosponsored a Fair Trade Dessert Party last spring and is co-sponsoring this semester’s Food & Justice Film Series, which debuted with a showing of “The Dark Side of Chocolate,” followed by a panel discussion in September. Their next event, cosponsored with the Pomona Student Union, is a panel discussion about fair trade and related topics on Nov. 29.

Pomona College is committed to being a leader in sustainability. In 2011, Pomona achieved a gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). In 2010, Pomona received the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s highest ranking of “A,” one of only seven colleges or universities to do so. Among its recent achievements, Pomona’s new Sontag and Pomona Residence Halls, which opened in June 2011, achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating of LEED platinum. For more information on sustainability at Pomona College, please visit www.pomona.edu/sustainability.