Saint Ursula Academy continues its effort to care for the Earth and people around the globe. For the fifth straight year, Saint Ursula is officially designated as a Fair Trade School by Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing thousands of conscious consumers and Fair Trade advocates on campuses and communities around the US. SUA was just the 36th school in the nation to earn this official designation and continues its commitment to Fair Trade today.
Fair Trade is a global movement that ensures consumers that the products they buy are grown, harvested, crafted, and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment. Fair Trade Campaigns officially recognizes schools in the US committed to educating students about the issues of Fair Trade and sourcing Fair Trade products like coffee, tea, and spiritwear in the cafeteria, offices, and at events. Fair Trade Campaigns sees the tremendous impact institutional purchasing in the US can have on farmers and artisans worldwide.
The Saint Ursula Academy’s Department of Service, Equity, and Global Education, SUA's Social Justice Club, individual students, and the DawgHouse spirit shop have embraced the Fair Trade concept and have all worked together for years to create and build awareness and availability of Fair Trade products and education at Saint Ursula Academy.
Many of the initiatives at Saint Ursula were implemented thanks to suggestions by students. Saint Ursula offers fairly traded items for sale in the DawgHouse shop and a sustainably sourced uniform. Girls in the Social Justice Club sell Fair Trade coffee and hot chocolate at the student-run Bulldog Boost Coffee Shop. SUA also offers options for the entire community, both students and parents, to purchase fairly traded Halloween chocolate and Christmas gifts from Fair Trade-certified vendors during our Christmas Boutique.
“Not only do these Fair Trade products support the dignity of women across the globe, but we began this journey by affirming and listening to our own students,” said Kemper. “They want to make a difference and learn how to take action after they are educated about these issues. We can empower them to do just that by giving them ethical options regarding their purchases. Over the past five years, various groups of students have come forward to educate, inform, and advocate for fair trade clothing at SUA.”
One fashion example happened last spring when a group of Saint Ursula students worked with the students at Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati (UC) to create their own fashions using pieces they already own, a way to make fashion sustainable by bringing new life to old clothing. They wore their homemade designs in an SUA community fashion show event called Flourish.
Becoming a designated Fair Trade school is one way Saint Ursula lives out one of the core values of an Ursuline education - to "Affirm the Dignity and Gifts of Women."
In addition to its Fair Trade designation, Saint Ursula is also a recipient of the Laudato Si Award from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for its efforts to care for the Earth. This is, in part, due to SUA’s innovative recycling, upcycling, and composting lunchroom waste reduction program.