Brandywine professor, University Park students promote fair trade

December 14, 2012

Penn State Brandywine Associate Professor of Earth Science Laura Guertin has proved to be a great inspiration to students at the campus, at University Park and throughout the region when it comes to the fair trade movement.

Guertin, whose students' months-long effort earned the Brandywine campus a fair trade designation last summer, reflected on the experience in October as a presenter at the Fair Trade Campaigns Conference in Chicago.

Junior Sarah DeMartino, who led the fair trade movement at the campus before transferring to University Park this fall to complete a degree in international relations, is a National Steering Committee Member of Fair Trade Universities and led two workshops on "Working with your Administration" and "Effective Social Networking."

Guertin said the conference was a way for her to represent the Brandywine campus and inform the community about its ongoing fair trade efforts, as well as to support DeMartino in her efforts to grow the movement at University Park. Five additional students representing the fair trade movement at University Park attended the conference with Guertin and DeMartino.

"Before the conference, I was asked to join the partnerships panel and discuss our connections here in Media -- how the town of Media supported our campaign to become a Fair Trade University," Guertin said. "Our campus has since helped The Walden School become the first pre-K-8 Fair Trade school in the U.S. I also discussed the 'Go Bananas for Fair Trade' campaign and how through Media's connections we were provided the bananas for the event, and some of our students went to Media to help talk about fair trade and distribute bananas for them."

As a result of the students' dedication to the Go Bananas campaign, they were named co-grand prize winners (alongside Fair Trade Boston) of the Fair Trade Go Bananas Challenge; they gave out more than 600 Fair Trade Certified bananas on campus. As the big time winners, the students earned a free one-year supply of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

"It was awesome to be able to share photos of our fair trade bananas event with a national audience in Chicago," Guertin added. "Knowing that of the more than 30 fair trade groups that participated in the challenge, our campus came out on top and made a difference."

  • Sarah DeMartino stood outside Millenium Park in Chicago, where she led two workshops at the Fair Trade Campaigns Conference in October.

    IMAGE: Laura Guertin

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 19, 2012