WKU close to fair trade designation

Mike Stunson

The WKU Americans for Informed Democracy have been working on declaring WKU as a fair trade university all school year, and it might be approved within the next week.

Timing couldn’t be better, as WKU is hosting the seventh United Students for Fair Trade National Convergence conference this weekend.

Charlie Harris, co-founder of WKU AID, said he would like President Gary Ransdell to sign the declaration at the conference.

“WKU meets all of the requirements,” Harris said. “All that is left to do is to officially declare ourself.”

According to this month’s Staff Council minutes, Harris and his colleagues made a presentation about fair trade to the Staff Council. The council voted to support the initiative, which will next be voted upon by the University Senate on Thursday. The Student Government Association has already approved the declaration.

“It’s good to talk to Staff Council and we are appreciative of their support,” Harris said. “Hopefully University Senate will go just as well.”

If University Senate was to approve the Fair Trade declaration, only Ransdell’s signature would separate WKU from becoming the fourth fair trade university in the country.

Harris said Ransdell signing the declaration would be “the most exciting moment for everyone there.”

“It’s a show that the fair trade movement is building, and people across the country would know that we are working hard to implement fair trade,” he said.

The purpose of fair trade certification is to ensure a living wage, humane working conditions, no child labor and environmental sustainability, according to the resolution. If approved, WKU will work with dining facilities, catered events, offices and stores to make sure that fair trade items are sold.

Harris said all of the groundwork is complete for the implementation.

“We are still working on individual commitments from departments and offices, but we have gotten approval from the WKU Store and the restaurant and catering groups,” he said. “It is amazing to know we have almost reached our goal.”

AID member Molly Kaviar said the whole group is excited to be nearing the end of the approval process.

“We have been working all year and we are so close,” Kaviar said. “(If approved) we will be seeing more and more fair trade products across campus to buy and hopefully more education and media for people to know what fair trade is.”