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Mary Embry
Lecturer, IU Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design

Last modified: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Indiana University students engage in fair trade

Oct. 24, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University students are working hard to promote fair trade during October's Fair Trade Month.

The month brings attention to a growing movement in the United States, and a global market that surpasses a billion dollars a year. This is done by numerous sales of fair trade, handmade artisan goods. IU's Students In Free Enterprise, the organization more commonly known as SIFE, has entered the world of fair trade through its ongoing project, Fair Trade Bloomington.

Fair Trade Bloomington is a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing opportunity for those living in Bloomington and nearby to contribute to global economic development and poverty relief through education and promotion of products that adhere to fair trade principles. Bloomington's ultimate goal is to open a nonprofit fair trade store in Bloomington that will become part of the fabric of the community.

Fair Trade Bloomington will be holding its annual holiday sales at the Indiana University Memorial Union Nov. 29 and at the University Baptist Church Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Fair Trade products can be purchased now in Bloomington at Natural Elements as well as Bloomingfoods.

The concept of fair trade is based around a set of guidelines as a means to improving the economic conditions of underdeveloped, poverty stricken countries. These guidelines for business include; paying workers fair prices for their goods, paying workers ahead of time for goods, maintaining orders, monitoring working conditions, empowering women and being environmentally sound.

This month many retailers from all over the nation are celebrating fair trade month by carrying fair trade certified products in their stores. Products are unique hand-made artisan products such as baskets, jewelry, textiles, and sculptures from far reaches of the world. Each purchase contributes to building opportunity for producers while protecting the environment.

SIFE Indiana University Bloomington
SIFE at Indiana University Bloomington is a student group advocating service based learning in the principles of free enterprise. The group works on projects locally and globally that address improving skills in financial literacy, business ethics, entrepreneurship, market economics, and success skills. The organization's activities are supported by the Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design department in the College of Arts and Sciences both financially and with guidance of faculty advisors who facilitate the student's ability to design and execute their various projects. This effort is lead by Professor Mary Embry, a Sam Walton Fellow and faculty member in the Retail Studies Program within the AMID department.