Letter to the Editor | Thursday, January 18, 2007
Contrary to the rest of the Student Senate, I did not support the idea of the Fair Trade Coffee Resolution. Setting aside my personal disagreement with the concept, I think the resolution should have been pursued differently. The resolution, as passed, pairs an aggressive educational drive with the lofty goal of largely eliminating non-fair trade coffee on campus. In the weeks since the Student Senate passed the Fair Trade Coffee Resolution, we have received several updates about the progress of meetings between Student Senate and University officials, but I do not believe I have heard of any dorm visits to get the word out among the students. This highlights one problem with this resolution – when the policy is implemented by Notre Dame Food Services, the incentives for the education drive would evaporate. If the goal of exclusive fair trade coffee were accomplished, what would be the point of an educational drive? It’s not as if we would be able to make a choice. Educating the student body about the differences between free trade coffee and fair trade coffee is a very worthwhile cause; it would be more meaningful if in addition to knowing the difference, we had a choice and a chance to make a statement by our actions, not by the decisions made by our student government. Foregoing the educational drive and leaving students with only one “choice” does nothing to extend the idea of “social responsibility” beyond the Notre Dame bubble. Everyone should be willing to let his beliefs stand on their merits in public rather than doing his work behind closed doors and beyond the view of the public. I would have rather seen the resolution split into two resolutions that happen one after the other instead of simultaneously. The educational drive should be pursued first so we can gauge the support fair trade coffee could garner across campus. After assessing the success of the educational push, we could address the issue of chasing the evils of freedom and capitalism off our campus in the name of Catholic Social Teaching.