Laurier celebrates Fair Trade Week with sustainable campus coffee

Photo by Darrien Funk

All across Canada higher education institutes are celebrating Fair Trade Week, promoting the fair trade food and drink products that are available to students on campuses around the nation to support ethical consumption.

Laurier Food Services held the event for Laurier at Frank’s Coffee Haus, which opened earlier in the year. Samples were given out of Planet Bean coffee which is fair-trade, as well as coupons and prizes. Laurier has been certified fair trade for the third year in a row with coffee, tea and hot chocolates available on campus that are fair-trade.

“This week is focussed on specifically fair trade campuses within the higher education realm, so we take one day out of the week to highlight a location on campus that offers fair trade products. Last year and the year before we celebrated at Byte75, Frank’s was not a location yet but this year we wanted to highlight and showcase the fair trade products that we have there,” said Nicolette Tsafantakis, marketing coordinator for Laurier Food Services.

“Not a lot of people go there anymore because of the construction that happened for a while, but we wanted to spread the word that building is done, it’s brand new, it looks great and we want people to know where Frank’s is as well.”

Although chains like Starbucks, Second Cup and Tim Hortons are available on campus, Laurier’s Waterloo campus is home to many options that are unique to the university including Frank’s and Byte75, as well as Veritas Café and Wilf’s.

“This year, since September, there has been a lot more foot traffic at Frank’s, I think people were used to it not being open and no one wanted to head to that area, but through our promotions and events I feel like we’re seeing an increase,” Tsafantakis said.

“It’s very exciting; people can see that it’s another location where we can offer fair trade products for students and everyone else on campus.”

Planet Bean, one of the main coffees served on campus, has been brewed in Guelph since 1997 and are not only fair trade certified but also organic and part of the Roaster’s Guild, which promotes excellence in the field of coffee.

“It’s important to have fair trade as an option for products we consume on a daily basis, especially as students, faculty, staff, coffee seems to be a staple for everybody and sometimes for people it is tea; I think it’s important because we’re also contributing to a living wage for farmers who are harvesting the coffee and cocoa beans,” Tsafantakis said.

“Our cotton, bananas, root vegetables all that also contributes to their economy and overall well being and living, there’s a lot of benefits, it also includes contributions towards opening up banks in these countries where there are coffee farmers, in turn it also creates better products; if the farmer is happy, the customer is happy.”

Many coffee vendors on campus also give a discount to students who bring a reusable mug, not only promoting ethical values when it comes to farming but also sustainability to reduce waste as well.

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