Letter to the Editor: Group believes fair trade has ‘solid base’ in university system.


Dear Sir,

South Dakota Students for Fair Trade has recently completed our survey, titled “Knowledge and Demand for Fair Trade in South Dakota.” The survey was circulated to provide a quantitative assessment of S.D. students’ views on fair trade. Results include 86 completed surveys.

When asked how important it is that fair trade products are available on campuses and communities, 67.4 percent responded “very important” and 29.1 percent responded “somewhat important.” A total of 89.6 percent buy fair trade products “sometimes” or “whenever possible.” A large majority, 80 percent, would purchase fair trade if offered for a similar price as other products, while 56 percent believe it’s very important that university food service providers and local restaurants provide fair trade options. Over 50 percent would pay more for fair trade products, many stating that they would pay 10-20 percent more. Finally, 72.1 percent pledged support for a resolution stating that fair trade products be provided at university and government meetings.

Looking beyond the numbers, we can see that fair trade has a solid base in the S.D. university system and we should expect the movement to grow in our state. Students have a range of opportunities to support fair trade; ask for fair trade coffee, ask if clothing is sweat-shop free, etc. A growing selection of fair trade products is now available, including clothing, handicrafts, bananas, soccer balls, tea, chocolate, coffee, wine and the list continues.

If any students or faculty are interested in working with SDSFT, please e-mail us at [email protected].

Best regards, Andrew Ofstehage