Vendors, departments converge on second annual Fair Trade Trading Post

Senior Morgan Mickelson, left, of Lexington, and Sarah Ferguson, WKU’s Recycling and Surplus Coordinator, demonstrate “upcycling” at their recycled gift wrapping table. WKU Fair Trade hosted an Fair Trading Post in the third floor mezzanine of Downing University Center on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011.

Michael McKay

If you still don’t know what to get an environmentally-minded friend on your shopping list, WKU Americans for Informed Democracy hosted a Holiday Fair Trade Post in the Downing University Center Mezzanine today to help give some ideas.

Local fair trade vendors and different WKU departments set up booths to educate and offer fair trade alternatives for holiday gifts.

A product that is fair trade-certified must guarantee fair prices and wages for the workers and cannot use child or slave labor.

Louisville sophomore Molly Kaviar, a co-president of WKU AID, said the group wanted to provide a venue for people to have access to fair trade and local gifts.

“We just wanted a way of promoting sustainable gift buying practices and local stuff instead of going to Walmart on Black Friday or whatever,” Kaviar said.

The WKU Office of Sustainability used the trading post to promote awareness of their role on campus and offer thoughtful gifts.

WKU Green Gifts, run through the Office of Sustainability, allows buyers to give pledge supports in the form of a postcard for the various programs they offer around campus, like the herb garden near South Campus.

Port Au Prince, Haiti junior Sophia Sterlin, a Green Campus Intern, said the postcards help keep the programs like the garden running.

“By donating, you know $5, for a handful of seeds or a can of worms, or adopting a Big Red Bike, you get to help those programs flourish,” Sterlin said.

Other organizations used the event as a way to raise awareness of their groups.

The GreenToppers for Sustainability had a booth where they demonstrated how to wrap gifts with recycled paper and held a raffle for clocks and wallets made from materials from the WKU Recycling and Surplus Department.

Recycling and Surplus Coordinator Sara Ferguson said the GreenToppers have waned in popularity since she helped found the group as a student.

“Last semester you could technically say they were an organization, but they didn’t really meet regularly,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said GreenToppers developed into a group where students would meet at each other’s houses and talk about issues.

“GreenToppers became less formal. When some graduating seniors left last year it kind of left with them because nobody was here,” she said. “Now I just came back as staff in July. So now one of the founding people is back trying to get new, fresh blood in.”

GreenToppers hopes to start meeting again regularly in the spring.