Assistant News Editor
Each year, McMaster’s Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) joins forces with local stores and vendors of fair trade products to put on the annual Fair Trade Fair in the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) atrium.
The fair, which has been taking place for over ten years, shrunk slightly in size this year, but is still going strong.
Products for sale included the usual Fair Trade Certified chocolates, coffee, and tea, jewellery from all over the world, Christmas ornaments, clay and wooden figurines, clothing, journals, soaps, moisturizers and several other odds and ends.
Also present at the Fair was McMaster’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB), promoting Fair Trade Certification awareness, focusing on educating students on the process for products to become certified, and why it is important to purchase Fair Trade products when possible.
According to one EWB volunteer, Meaghan Langille, fair trade “promotes social responsibility by ensuring that that the people who made the product that you’re purchasing were paid a fair wage and ethical working conditions.”
“It’s a great way to promote a global economy,” she said about the event. “It’s something that we can do to help people in developing countries through what we are purchasing and consuming,” said Langille.
It was widely expressed by several vendors that a second-term event, which used to occur but was stopped several years ago, would be greatly beneficial to the cause.
Another suggestion was to add another day to the first-term fair, as many students asked vendors if they would be returning the following day.