Pippa Rogers, Fairtrade Canada
March 5, 2019
Sustainability leadership garners meaningful Campus of the Year award
On March 2, 2019 the University of Calgary was named Campus of the Year by Fairtrade Canada at the Canadian Fairtrade Awards. The Campus of the Year Award recognizes sustainability leadership based on availability of Fairtrade products, engagement activities, visibility and education practices, campus purchasing policies, and innovative Fairtrade initiatives. This award is especially meaningful for UCalgary, because it symbolizes a much larger commitment to sustainable and healthy dining service practices on campus.
“Sustainability is a core value that is infused into all aspects of our institution. When it comes to food and beverage choices, this means purchasing Fairtrade-certified products,” says Jill Blackie, associate director, food culture and sustainability projects. “Winning this award would not have been possible without the outstanding work of our students, faculty and staff. Thank you for your continued efforts towards helping UCalgary achieve its goals in sustainable and healthy dining service practices.”
Factors that contributed to UCalgary’s win include:
- The university’s dedication to sustainable purchasing practices and campus engagement to source environmentally and socially responsible products
- Keeping the conversation going around the importance of Fairtrade by hosting events like Waffle Wednesdays, documentary screenings and engagement booths
- Efforts like the Sustainable Events and Sustainable Offices programs
Office of Sustainability
The university’s Fairtrade journey began in 2012 when students from the UCalgary chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) wanted to provide the campus with the option to purchase goods that came from farmers and artisans working in safe environments and receiving fair wages. To achieve this designation, EWB formed a steering committee which included student volunteers and staff members from Food and Conference Services, as well as the Office of Sustainability.
In 2015, UCalgary became the first Fairtrade Campus in Alberta, and the 10th in Canada to receive designation from Fairtrade Canada. Since then, enduring commitment from the campus community has allowed UCalgary to successfully maintain its Fairtrade campus certification through the annual renewal process.
“We are continually inspired by Fairtrade Campuses like the University of Calgary,” says Julie Francoeur, executive director of Fairtrade Canada. “By engaging and educating their community on sustainability and trade justice issues, UCalgary has shown leadership and innovation in creating a cultural shift on their campus. This kind of ‘big thinking’ will drive meaningful impact and can serve as a model for Canada’s post-secondary institutions.”
The Canadian Fairtrade Awards recognize exceptional Fairtrade supporters, partners and allies, including retailers, traders, towns and campuses. The awards take place annually with a formal ceremony celebrating noteworthy contributions of Fairtrade stakeholders across Canada.