Last week, the Office of International Programs and the Pacific International Club co-sponsored the third annual Fair Trade Sale as part of International Week. The sale features items from Ten Thousand Villages, the largest fair trade retailer in North America, which operates in the United States and Canada opened in 1958.

Many of the items were made from recycled materials.  This year items included picture frames made out of bicycle chains, candle holders made from pieces of broken glass, bracelets, and orange peel dolls.

According to Megan Serenco, International Student Advisor and advisor to the International Club, “Fair trade is really important. Fair trade helps people who live in underdeveloped parts of the world to gain access to the consumers of the developed world without having to go through middlemen who raise the price and siphon off the profits along the way.”

Basically, this means that not only does most of the profit from the sale of an item go to the person or craft house that actually made it, but there is no retailer raising the price.  So, items are generally cheaper for the consumer.

Pacific University has been hosting the sale as a non-profit event since 2008. In past years, the Pacific Progressive Union and the Humanitarian Center have co-sponsored alongside the International Club and the Office of International Programs. Volunteers from the International Club and also from Pacific’s International Student community staff the sale. According to Serenco, it looks like the students met their sales goal this year, though the profits, to be sent back to the items’ producers, are still being counted.

Though this year’s Fair Trade Sale is over, you can still support the Fair Trade movement by shopping at www.tenthousandvillages.com, other fair trade organizations, waiting for next year’s International Week, or by volunteering.

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