JCU hosts Oct. 10 Ohio Fair Trade Expo
Celebrate Fair Trade Month at the Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In and Expo on Saturday, Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at John Carroll University (JCU). The event is free and open to the public.
Since 2005, the Ohio Fair Trade Expo has showcased socially and environmentally conscious consumerism with artisan demonstrations, speakers, workshops, family activities and a fair trade marketplace. Hosted by JCU, this year’s expo marks the school’s recent designation as the fifth Jesuit university to earn Fair Trade University status from Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing consumers and advocates across the United States to increase the availability of fair trade products.
“As a Jesuit University committed to human dignity, environmental sustainability, and economic justice for all, the decision to become a Fair Trade University is a natural expression of our mission,” said Robert L. Niehoff, president of John Carroll University.
The event will be held in JCU's Dolan Center for Science and Technology, and registration for the event will open at 9:30 a.m. With the support of sponsors, such as Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and JCU, the Ohio Fair Trade Network has made this event free to the public. The first 200 attendees will receive a gift bag filled with treats.
Once inside, guests are welcome to explore the marketplace, comprising more than 30 vendors selling clothing, artisan crafts, food and drinks before the program begins. They can also attend a workshop, and earn a badge in the Girl Scout program that will be part of the expo. The marketplace will remain open until 3:30 p.m.
This year’s keynote speaker is Brian Backe, director of domestic programs at Catholic Relief Services (CRS). He will speak on the topic "Why Should Corporations Care about Fair Trade and Why Should Fair Trade Care about Corporations." Founded in 1943, CRS is the international relief and development agency of the Catholic community in the United States.
Following the keynote address, morning workshops will be held 11–11:45 a.m. Amy Sobkowiak and Francesca Barbee will conduct a workshop on Ethical Entrepreneurship. Other workshops include Fair Trade Pricing with Linda Edwards and The Faces of Fair Trade by Holy Land Handicrafts, a group based in Palestine that makes hand-crafted items from olive wood. [The artisans will be at Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights on Friday, Oct. 9, 6–8 p.m., for those who want to learn more about their work. Members of the group can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
A second round of workshops begins at 1 p.m. These include Fair Trade Essentials, Economics of Fair Trade Fashion with Laura Potter-Sadowski, and Behind the Brands with Emily Tusick. A panel discussion at 2 p.m. will follow the afternoon workshops, to answer questions and discuss fair trade initiatives.
The goal of the expo is to educate the community on how supporting fair trade through small, everyday actions can have an enormous effect on the global economy and the environment, and on the lives of each and every artisan. For more information, visit www.ohiofairtrade.com.
Laura Potter-Sadowski is executive director of Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights and is a member of The Ohio Fair Trade Expo Committee and the Cedar Fairmount SID Marketing Committee.