By Adriana Avila | Staff Writer

Those who did not find themselves in the Mission and Ministry Center this past Friday missed out on free goodies such as coffee, tea, and chocolates. No worries to those who couldn’t make it. Every first Friday of the month, it happens all over again.

Saint Mary’s celebrates and promotes Fair Trade businesses and organizations through an event called Fair Trade Friday. In fact, Saint Mary’s College happens to be the first Fair Trade certified college in California. The College maintains this status through its commitment of supporting local and global growers that are ensured with fair wages, non-harmful working conditions, and sustainable practices in the environment they work in.

Kate Arenchild, the Lasallian Peer Minister (LPM) for Fair Trade and Social Justice, happily greeted attendees with a smile on her face as she offered every- one samples of the fair trade products. Arenchild loves being a part of the Fair Trade events because, “It’s a place where students and staff members can be in a community together in a relaxed way. We don’t often get to do that.” Arenchild also mentioned that events like Fair Trade Friday are “supporting a cause at the heart of Saint Mary’s Lasallian values.”

As LPM for both Fair Trade and Social Justice, Arenchild expresses her pas- sion for the Lasallian Core Principles (Concern for the Poor and Social Justice, Faith in the Presence of God, Quality Education, Respect for all Persons, and Inclusive Community) through her time and effort, advocating not only for workers’ rights, but the rights of all people.

Third year student Colleen Raab decided that getting involved with the community through volunteering at this event was a great opportunity for her. When asked what re- ally drew her to help, Raab said, “Fair Trade Fridays spread the awareness of fair trade and how important it is for workers to be respected and treated right. Many workers are treated un- fairly. This event is a small way to ensure that workers are get- ting their rights.”

Another major plus Raab mentioned were the free chocolate samples that filled her sweet tooth cravings. Raab was not the only one enjoying her time at the Mission and Ministry event. The lounge and breezeway seemed to constantly be buzzing with students and staff, not only excited that it was Friday, but glad to have a place to relax and socialize with friends of a close community. Administrative Assistant and Wedding Coordinator, Colleen da Silva, mentioned that, “Fair Trade vendors have opportunities to get people personally involved. Simple things that we consume on a daily basis can act as a way for us to be environmentally responsible and socially just.” Who thought that coffee, tea and chocolate could potentially help us become more aware of topics such as fair and safe working conditions? The Saint Mary’s Community continues to spread awareness in small, but powerful ways through events such as Fair Trade Friday.

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