Gustavus Adolphus College Becomes First Fair Trade College in Minnesota Posted on December 16th, 2015 by

bananasGustavus Adolphus College has become the first college or university in Minnesota to be designated a Fair Trade College/University by Fair Trade Campaigns, an organization consisting of fair trade groups from across the globe. Gustavus is the 30th college/university in the United States to earn the designation.

After two years of work by a collaborative team of students, faculty, and staff, the College has met the requirements for the certification, which is shared by other notable institutions including Pomona College, Creighton University, and Villanova University.

“The fair trade designation shows that our values are in line with being a part of the global community. It’s about being conscious of the impact that we all have,” Gustavus senior and president of Fair Trade Gustavus Abigail Nistler said.

Margo Druschel, director of the academic support center, has been involved with the fair trade movement since 2009. After attending a national Fair Trade Campaigns meeting in New Jersey a few years ago, Druschel brought the idea back to Gustavus. “It became really clear to me that many other faith-based colleges and universities were choosing to have fair trade groups on campus,” she said. “Fair trade aligns very much with our core values of justice and community.”

As a Fair Trade College, Gustavus will strive to use responsibly sourced products and make them available in its dining facilities, book store, and to offices and departments across campus. The College will also support students, faculty, and staff as they work to create educational programs and increase awareness of fair trade.

Beck Hall is certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Beck Hall is certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We’ve been exclusively purchasing fair trade coffee, tea, and bananas along with some chocolate and textiles,” Director of Dining Service and the Book Mark Steve Kjellgren said. “As a Fair Trade College, there will be a higher vigilance for our campus purchasing, which is an incredibly helpful tool for those of us in the business of purchasing and providing for Gustavus. Our community will be more informed of possible fair trade options than a single department manager, director, or purchasing supervisor could.”

Chaplain Brian Konkol, who advised the Fair Trade Gustavus student group, explained why the designation is important for the College. “Every college is a community of consumers, which means as a church-related college we are particularly challenged to consume not merely in response to our desires, but as an expression of our values,” he said. “I’m delighted that Gustavus is putting its values into action for the sake of the world in this generation and beyond.”

The Fair Trade College designation is one of many initiatives on campus that support sustainability, including Beck Hall’s LEED Platinum certification, Big Hill Farm, the composting facility, and solar panel installations on six campus buildings. Visit the Gustavus sustainability website to learn more about these programs and facilities.

FT Schools 3Fair Trade Campaigns is a grassroots movement mobilizing thousands of Fair Trade advocates on campuses and communities across the USA. Fair Trade Campaigns recognize towns, colleges, universities, schools and congregations in the US for embedding Fair Trade purchasing practices and principles into policy, as well as the social foundations of their communities. Project collaborators include Fair Trade USA, Fair for Life, and Fair Trade International – USA, third-party certifiers of Fair Trade products in the United States, the Fair Trade Federation, a North American trade association of organizations fully committed to Fair Trade. Visit for more information.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


One Comment

  1. Pam Larson says:

    How wonderful! I went to your website today because we are beginning a college search for my high school junior. This news has placed you higher on my list! Kuddos!