Glasgow Clyde College is currently working towards achieving Fair Trade College status. We recently caught up with representatives of the Student Association and John Clark, the Head of Catering and coordinator of the College’s Fair Trade Steering Group, to hear about how staff and students are involved with Fair Trade across the three campuses.
John, who has been the driving force behind Fair Trade in the College told us how the College first started selling Fair Trade almost 10 years ago in a small Fair Trade café, extremely popular amongst staff and students alike. “It all started with tea and coffee in our wee café. But once you start reading more about Fair Trade and how such little effort from us has a big impact on the producers, you just want to go a little further every time”, John explains. The only difficulty in terms of getting Fair Trade status has been the changing nature of the student body. Many students spend a relatively short time at the College, making organised Fair Trade activities more challenging to sustain. Luckily the Student Union is committed to finding a way to overcome this with staff support, together with an increasing number of students wanting to be involved.
Claire Conachy together with two student representatives are hoping to engage with more students on the topic of Fair Trade this year. They will help to organise Fair Trade activities during Fresher’s Week and will support lecturers in finding out how Fair Trade can be incorporated into curricular subjects.
In terms of the availability of Fair Trade products on campus, the college now has Fair Trade options in all of its catering venues. In fact, the latest café opening on the 8th floor of the Cardonald campus will only serve Fair Trade products. Even the College’s vending machines have Fair Trade, and all meetings serve Fair Trade produce only. “We don’t even look at options that aren’t Fair Trade. Our current supplier only sells Fair Trade, so it’s very easy for us”, John says when asked about sourcing Fair Trade in the catering outlets of the College.
But did John face any difficulties when he decided to push for more Fair Trade? “Not really. We never charged students any extra for Fair Trade, and everyone across the campus loved our products. Fair Trade was easily accepted, and continues to be so.” John does point out, that having Fair Trade easily available in the framework to make Fair Trade readily available for those in charge of purchases would make everything a lot easier. “I am happy to go an extra mile for Fair Trade, but I know everyone isn’t.”
There’s definitely an air of excitement about the possibility of the College gaining Fair Trade status within the next year. We wish them the best of luck in their Fair Trade journey! Follow the College’s Fair Trade journey on their Facebook and Twitter pages.