Campus Store to Introduce Fair Trade Clothing


Shawn Wolfe, Reporter

The Social Justice Committee is teaming up with Campus Ministry to offer fair trade clothing in the campus bookstore.

Fair trade products are those created by workers who are paid fairly and not exploited by the companies they work for.

Christine Somers, Director of Campus Ministry, said she and members of the Social Justice Committee aim to combat worker exploitation by introducing more fair trade clothing into the bookstore.

“It is important to have these kinds of items because the money goes more directly to those making the products than to large corporations such as Nike and Under Armour,” Somers said.

The Social Justice Committee spoke to the Follett company, which provides educational products to colleges and universities like Misericordia, and officials have cooperated with the club and established a contract with a fair trade clothing supplier.

Somers said she was happy to see Follett support the goal.

“There was no resistance from the Follett company,” Somers said. “It will be most likely a rack or two of various shirts or sweatshirts or other items.”

It will still be some time before the items are available for sale because they must be made to the university’s design guidelines.

“At this point, they [bookstore staff] cannot put an order in until spring because the company does not have our colors and has to work with our logo as well. We are hoping by next fall to have some items to purchase in the book store,” Somers said.

Somers said this deal will provide the workers who create the clothing items to earn a living wage, which she believes offering these items for sale is of ethical importance, especially in light of the charisms of the Sister’s of Mercy – mercy, service, justice and hospitality.

“Many other name brand products are made in sweatshops in developing countries, where workers get paid next to nothing to produce the clothing. The fair trade products would be considered ethical products that do not take advantage of their workers. This move to make some of our clothing fair trade also supports the mission of the University and Catholic Social teaching.”

Somers expects fair trade clothing to be available next fall.