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By Taylor Assion
The Fair Trade ambassador program at SFU not only helps to promote awareness of the Fair Trade movement but also produces award-winning student writers through the annual National Association of College Auxillary Sevices (NACAS) student author contest. This year's winner, Daphne Chan, who is a fourth-year resource and environmental management undergrad student, follows in the footsteps of the last two Fair Trade lead ambassadors before her.
The prompt of this year’s essay was “How have auxiliary/ancillary services departments on your campus adapted their operations to support you?” and asked the entrants to “provide specific examples of challenges that have been overcome by your campus auxiliary/ancillary services departments adjusting to mitigate these issues.” Chan’s winning essay focused on how the VP Finance and Administration’s Ancillary Services provided leadership to the SFU community to come together and support the region after the disastrous flooding that happened in the fall and winter of 2021.
“We did in-person outreach during the flood relief drive and the people we talked to were interested in getting involved.” says Chan. “It was important to have donation stations set up across all three SFU campuses so that the whole community could participate. I think the level of support and outreach we had was very special.” Thanks to the flood relief drive, SFU was able to donate 2,442 toiletry and food items as well as $26,000 in cash to remote communities and community partners affected by the flooding.
When asked how SFU can continue to have an impact in the region in the same way that we came together for the Flood Relief Drive, Chan added, “I think the first step would be connecting and collaborating with students continuously. When it comes to supporting people, we need to hear what they need, their concerns through connecting with students that live within the community, grassroots organizations and student groups.”
Working to drive impact at SFU, Chan’s work with the Fair Trade ambassador program has been vital to the education and continued adoption of fair trade practices on campus. Chan’s best tip for supporting the fair trade movement is not just buying one fairtrade product per week (such as coffee, tea, sugar or chocolate), but by creating a dialogue to engage with friends or family members about sustainable and fairtrade practices in the global south. “With the rising cost of goods due to inflation, buying fairtrade products might not be accessible to everybody,” Chan remarks, “but you can support the movement by spreading the word and having conversations about fairtrade in your daily life.”
Daphne Chan’s winning essay can be read in the upcoming issue of NACAS’ College Services Magazine in October 2022. Click here to find out more about NACAS.
Discover more about Fair Trade at SFU here.