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Badin Hall hosts 10th annual Conscious Christmas

| Friday, November 30, 2018

With a unique assortment of fair-trade goods including feather and tassel jewelry, cashmere and yak wool scarves, meditation singing bowls and a number of bags and totes, Badin Hall’s Conscious Christmas will work to support to support their signature charity — the HOPE Initiative — while providing gifts for mindful Christmas shoppers.

The 10th annual Conscious Christmas sale will run Friday from noon to 6 p.m. in the ballroom of LaFortune Student Center. 

Assistant professor of industrial design Ann-Marie Conrado founded the HOPE Initiative with her Nepalese husband in 2004.

“The whole goal of the charity is to use design and creativity to address challenging and often intractable social and humanitarian issues,” she said.

The sale serves as one of the driving fundraisers for maintaining various HOPE Initiative projects, Conrado said.

“One of the biggest projects we did last year was building a play and learning landscape for a small government school in Nepal that is named after the women of Badin Hall,” Conrado said.

Kelli Smith | The Observer

Proceeds from Badin’s Conscious Christmas last year went towards building a playground for a small government school in Nepal. A Badin hall alumna and an industrial design major helped plan the space.

While the sale raised funds for the project, a former Badin resident and another industrial design major contributed to the design of the playground, she said.

Conrado said Notre Dame industrial design students also played a role in designing some of the products at the sale, traveling to Nepal during the summer to create ethically-made products.

“Through this project, our design students learn how to take their vision into production, how to make hard choices and how to make sure that it’s cost-effective,” she said. “And they get to be on site working right alongside the artisans.”

Conrado said the sale will also feature purchased traditional handicrafts designed and made by artisans in Nepal that are certified fair trade or from small cooperatives who have not undergone the certification process.

“When we buy from these cooperatives, we help by giving them economic empowerment by buying their goods in bulk and then selling them to the community at Notre Dame as well as other church sales,” Conrado said.

Sophomore Hannah Sarkey, Badin’s service commissioner, said she looks forward to working the sale and enjoying the free chai tea they will also be providing.

“People may not realize how beautiful the products are,” she said. “There are so many scarves and jewelry that are really are gorgeous, and we’ll even package the products in little bags an tissue paper.”

In an age of widespread materialism, Conrado said she hopes the event will highlight the consequences of easy consumption, where low-priced goods often serve a high price for manufacturing workers.

“Buying things has consequences and ramifications halfway around the world for people, their livelihoods and their ability to thrive,” she said. “I really think our special community, graced by Catholic social teaching, calls us to be more conscious of the way we make those choices and this is a really easy opportunity for students to buy something that’s beautiful, to get some of their Christmas shopping done and to do it in a way that recognizes the people who made it the hard work they put into it.”

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