Buy holiday gifts, support fair trade

It’s nearly time for the annual Fair Trade Holiday Sale, one of my favorite events on campus both for the unique gifts I find there as well as the excellent initiative it supports.

The sale brings artisan-crafted items from more than 40 countries to Bloomington, and supports Fair Tuesday, the ethical shopping initiative recently launched in response to the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Tree of Life

Haitian artists recycle 55-gallon metal drums into this earth-friendly wall hanging, available from Global Gifts.

Held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 in the IMU’s State Room East, the sale is the community’s largest fair trade event. It is sponsored by student group Enactus IUB and Fair Trade Bloomington and is open to the public. Items for sale include handmade jewelry, holiday ornaments, chocolate, baskets, woolens, textiles, bags and purses, as well as local artwork from the Stone Belt Arts Program.

“Fair Trade is important to me because it supports those whose voices often go unheard by giving them a higher standard of living than conventional trade would give them,” said IU sophomore Macaira O’Connell, a project leader with Enactus IUB’s fair trade group who traveled to Ecuador last summer to meet with fair trade producers. “Campaigning for Fair Trade allows me to work for a bigger purpose than myself.”

Enactus IUB is the local chapter of an international network of student, academic and business leaders that uses the power of entrepreneurial action to enable human progress.

Inspired to open a fair trade retail outlet in the community in 2005, the group launched the Fair Trade Bloomington organization. Then, in 2007, Fair Trade Bloomington incorporated as a nonprofit that develops and implements year-round fair trade education and awareness campaigns.

In 2009, Enactus IUB wrote a proposal for a partnership with Global Gifts, a fair trade retailer in Indianapolis, to open its third store in Bloomington. The store opened on Bloomington’s square that summer.

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