The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 20, 2013

Our View: Pathways to be proud of


The Free Press

— If Loyola students could have it their way, they probably wouldn’t want to be so unique they would be obvious award candidates.

The idea behind supporting Fair Trade is to hope that it catches on and becomes so common that it’s not unusual.

The marketplace is nowhere near that kind of saturation for Fair Trade products, but maybe recognizing the Loyola Catholic School’s Fair Trade efforts will help spread the word and motivate more consumers to buy Fair Trade products.

The group is capturing lots of attention. Tonight the Young Pathfinder Award goes to Loyola for being named the first Fair Trade School in Minnesota and the third nationwide.

Local Pathfinder awards recognize individuals and organizations that, in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,. are action takers in the struggle for equal treatment, human rights and nonviolence.

Promoting and supporting Fair Trade fits perfectly into those goals. Fair Trade encourages better wages and improved conditions for workers who make products bought by consumers, from coffee to fabrics.

Under the leadership of the Fair Trade Student Committee, the school has been adhering to a set of criteria by Fair Trade Colleges and Universities USA and has put on various events to promote Fair Trade.

Teacher Emily Kracht took the responsibility of documenting the school’s work toward the goal, which was a lengthy process. Some of the requirements included having Fair Trade products available at the school, developing a Fair Trade procurement policy, and committing to Fair Trade education, among other criteria.

This was obviously a big undertaking, and the school’s efforts will not only be a living example of social justice at work for the Loyola school community, but for schools and communities everywhere.

The students organized their efforts to make a difference. Their work is a fitting tribute King and all he stood for.

 

Along with Loyola, Pathfinder award recipients Scott Fee and Hy-Vee, will be honored at tonight’s event. A limited number of tickets are available at the door. The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration is 5:30 p.m. in the Halling Recital Hall at MSU. Social hour is 5:30 p.m with the program starting at 6:15 p.m. Entertainment follows. Tickets are $10 for adults. For more information, visit greatermankato.com/pathfinder-awards.