A delegation of Korean students toured Kingston University’s Penrhyn Road campus on Friday 25 January as part of a fact-finding mission to the United Kingdom to learn about Fairtrade products. The students from Kyungwon University are trying to make their institution the first in Korea to secure Fairtrade status which signals their commitment to supporting Third World producers.
The students organised the trip to England to pick the brains of staff and students at Kingston University which achieved Fairtrade status in 2006. The University now sells more than 5,800 cups of Fairtrade tea and coffee a week and is making a real contribution to helping people help themselves out of poverty.
Kingston University’s sustainability team champion Hannah Smith and environmental management student Renata Rez, 26, showed the party how the University was doing its bit to go green. “It really helped them to focus on what it means to become a Fairtrade organisation,” Hannah said. “They learnt about creating a demand-led system which encourages students to ask for Fairtrade products every time they buy a drink at the canteen.”
The Kingston visit included a trip to the Students’ Union shop and bar which sell Fairtrade products and the Picton Room and the Foodstore canteens which also stock Fairtrade food. The students also admired the new John Galsworthy Building which uses recycled rain water to flush the toilets and learnt about work being done by the Centre for Sustainable Communities Achieved through Integrated Professional Education (C-SCAIPE).
Korean student Chae Sooeun said the information they had received from Kingston University had been very useful. “We thought we knew a lot about Fairtrade but since we have been here we have learnt a lot,” she said. “We thought the price of Fairtrade goods would be much more expensive, but actually they are only slightly more.” The students also made time to take a look around Kingston town centre which achieved Fairtrade Borough Status in 2005.