Student Sprawl

Ah, East Lansing. Initially named “Collegeville,” this city is the body to which Michigan State is the heart. For at least 10 months of every year, college students swarm the streets of E.L., making it the epitome of a college town. But while East Lansing becomes the temporary home of thousands of students each year, the city is also home to many long-term residents who have lived here for longer.
“All of the communities near campus have students in them, but they also have long-term residents or non-student residents in them, so they’re mixed in some proportion to one another,” said Erin Carter, Community Liaison for the MSU-East Lansing community. “Obviously, the ones closest to campus because of the proximity and the ease of walking, tend to have the greater number of students.” [carter]
It’s clear to those simply passing through the city that East Lansing prides itself on being the home of MSU. Throughout the entire city, Spartan flags fly high, Go State! posters and stickers adorn almost everything, and a number of businesses are either geared toward students and faculty, or at least use keywords like “Spartan,” “Campus,” or just “State,” in their slogans and names. A city so seemingly in love with MSU should be quick to embrace the university’s students then, right? Not always.
The City of East Lansing’s Web site states that the city considers “all MSU students to be residents of our unique community, and [the city] value[s] what [students] add to our community by way of academia, athletics and more.” While this may be true, a difference in lifestyles between student and non-student residents can sometimes create tension between the two parties.
Differences in sleeping times can sometimes create a problem between student and non-student residents. To generalize, it could be said that students have different sleeping schedules than most other human beings. During a typical night in East Lansing, we can be found roaming the streets, looking for food, friends or whatever else we deem necessary at the time. For non-student residents, this schedule might seem obnoxious. On the other hand, students have to deal with residents who choose to mow their lawns at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning. [studhouse]
Instead of being able to sleep in on the precious weekend, Sean McNally, a James Madison junior who lives off-campus, said he often gets woken up earlier than he’d like by noisy neighbors. “It has happened before and I haven’t been able to fall back asleep,” he said. “Then, it puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.”
The typical college party is another way in which student and non-student residents can butt heads. No one wants scantily-clad drunk girls passing out on their lawns or over-confident college boys puking on their sidewalks. In addition, no college student wants their neighbors to call the cops every time they have a get-together.
Because of such lifestyle differences, it can be seen that some East Lansing residents do prefer to live in areas void of student renters. In fact, in 2004, City Council approved an ordinance that allows residents to petition for and establish “residential rental restriction overlay districts.” In simpler terms, East Lansing residents can ask their neighbors to sign an agreement to make their neighborhood virtually free of renters, and thus free of students.
Today, 12 overlay districts have been established in East Lansing. The size of each district varies, with some of the largest districts covering sections of about 20 different streets. While houses with rental licenses can exist within the overlay districts, the goal of the ordinance was to allow residents to control the types of rental properties, if any, that go up in their neighborhoods.
According to Howard Asch, director of East Lansing’s Code Enforcement and Neighborhood Conservation Department, the overlay districts have some rental properties in them, but they mostly have boundary on rental areas that are heavily populated by students. For a city that supposedly prides itself so much on MSU’s students, attempting to restrict where the students can actually live seems a little hypocritical.
[asch]For example, City Council is currently considering adopting an ordinance that would allow residents who are having trouble selling their homes to temporarily rent out part of their houses without obtaining a rental license. This would mean that students could move into homes in overlay districts from which they were previously excluded. In response, residents of overlay districts have attended the council’s public hearings to show their opposition to the ordinance.
“I think there’s a fear anytime there’s anything new with rental requirements,” Asch said. “People are afraid that it’s going to negatively impact their neighborhoods.”
As MSU’s enrollment continues to grow each year, the demand for student housing continues to increase as well. A few of the largest overlay districts are right off campus, and they restrict areas of the city with close proximity to the university from student renters. This forces more students to live farther away from the campus in which their college years surround.
Living in closer proximity to MSU’s huge campus makes getting places less of a hassle. Getting to class on time from a farther location, especially in the winter months, can be difficult. Finding and paying for on-campus parking is always a pain, and for those who don’t have a car, depending on the bus for a ride can lead to cold, frustrating waits outside, only to arrive late to class anyway. Living closer to campus gives students the opportunity to take shorter bus rides or walk on nice days. Even when the bus is not an option, a short walk in miserable weather is better than a long walk in the same conditions.
In addition, some feel that much of the point of attending a huge university like MSU lies in student life. Most student activities and hang-outs are on or near campus, and students who live farther away from campus may suffer a disadvantage from living away from all the action. If students are pushed to live farther away from campus, they might miss out on aspects of campus life, and in turn, student involvement in campus activities and gatherings will decrease.
[house2]”Sometimes it seems like there is more going on around campus than many of the apartment complexes have going on,” said MSU sophomore and Chandler Crossings resident Lance Kohs. “Campus is the center of the community though, so that makes sense.”
In an area where student and non-student residents cooperate with each other’s needs, a petition to turn the neighborhood into an overlay district is less likely to be signed. The majority of East Lansing is not under an overlay petition, and Carter said that many residents really enjoy living near or around students.
“I think that it is a give and take from both perspectives,” she said. “People just need to be mindful. Regardless of who your neighbor is, how are you being neighborly to them? How are you respecting them and paying attention to your needs as well as their needs?”
The integration of student and non-student residents in East Lansing is what makes it an enjoyable place for many to live. With a little bit of “give and take” from both groups, both students and non-students can situate themselves in neighborhoods that are enjoyable and convenient to live in.

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Back to School Shopping Gets Green

The beginning of second semester represents a fresh start for many students. With new classes comes the need for new notebooks, pens, pencils and other supplies – and, as people continue to tap into their environmental consciousness, the need for products that will not harm the Earth. But because of the extra effort that goes into producing recycled goods, eco-friendly school supplies can sometimes be simply too expensive for students to consider buying over the regular versions. Considering the current financial situations of many students and their families, buying the cheapest product can often trump buying the greenest one.
“I haven’t really thought about buying recycled school supplies,” Mitchell Wood, Lyman Briggs sophomore, said. “I know it’s probably a good thing to do, but I just kind of grab what’s cheap.”
Some green school supplies are noticeably more expensive than their non-recycled counterparts. This may cause students trying to be frugal to turn away from purchasing them. For example, at the Student Bookstore (SBS), a 500-count pack of printer paper made of 30 percent recycled fibers is almost $4.00 more expensive than its non-recycled version. Assistant Manager Mike Wylie also said that SBS used to carry three-ring binders made of recycled materials, but had to stop ordering them because of low demand due to high prices.[wylie]
“People’s environmental friendliness only goes so far in the world of pocketbooks,” he said. “[The recycled binders] were really considerably more expensive than a [non-recycled] binder would be, while the notebooks, folders and pens are either the same price or cheaper.”
But keep in mind that being friends with the environment does not have to hurt your relationship with your wallet. While the amount of non-recycled items far outnumbers the amount of recycled items for sale in locations on and near campus, the environmentally friendly items are often not much different in price from the typical items. For some students, the consequences of buying unsustainable products in order to save a buck or two are too dire to ignore.
Note Taking
Whether it is colored, white, lined or blank, paper is one of the primary school supplies that students purchase at the beginning of each semester. Since the paper industry is a contributor to environmental problems, buying recycled paper products allows students to be greener by reducing the need for the destruction of forests. Paper manufacturers often destroy forests not only by cutting down trees but also by polluting waterways and wrecking plant and animal habitats. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, each American uses an average of 741 pounds of paper a year. For MSU students, the amount of homework, reports and exams printed on paper undoubtedly contributes to that number.
Environotes, a type of paper offered by Roaring Spring Paper Products, is made from a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste, and is 100 percent recyclable. SBS has several varieties of Environotes notebooks, including one subject and four subject spiral notebooks, which Wylie said are popular among students.
[colored pencils2]”Out of anything you would call recycled or environmentally-friendly, [the Environotes spiral notebooks] are our number one sellers,” he said.
While the notebooks used to be considerably more expensive than their non-recycled counterparts, in recent years they have dropped in price, and Wylie said he considers the Environotes notebooks decently priced compared to regular notebooks.
A four-subject notebook with 200 sheets of paper costs $5.99, while the non-recycled Roaring Spring notebook sitting next to it has only 160 sheets of paper and is only 50 cents cheaper.
For students willing to spend a few extra dollars in order to be green, SBS carries an even greener but more expensive notebook. SBS has a two-subject spiral notebook made by TNF Eco Papers that is made of 100 percent post-consumer content and banana fiber. The notebook is made from banana, coffee, and tobacco crop waste. Post-consumer content from previously used office, news and magazine papers is added to the waste from the raw materials to form the notebook’s pages. They are known as “Banana Paper.” The notebook is slightly pricey at $5.79, but has the highest percentage of post-consumer content, and offers peace of mind to those with the greenest intentions.
Desk Supplies
While buying paper made of post-consumer content and recycling it after use is one major way to make an impact on the environment, other school supplies are available in eco-friendly versions as well. Several stores around campus offer pens, pencils, folders, index cards, Post-It notes, sketchbooks and other products made from recycled materials at prices similar to their non-recycled counterparts.
[supplies]Since recent consumer interest in environmentalism has increased, many companies have begun producing eco-friendly lines of their products. Post-It, V-Ball Pens and Ticonderoga Pencils all sell both regular and recycled versions of their products. While it is a little harder to find these items, they are the same quality as the regular products, and sometimes are no different in price.
Various stores around campus, such as SBS and the Spartan Bookstore, carry selections of V-Ball brand recycled pens. The prices of the pens vary according to the type and amount of pens in each package, but overall, the prices are the same or a few cents higher than less responsible pens made entirely of brand new materials.
When it comes to attaching sheets of paper together, some types of fastenings can also be greener than others. Using paper clips rather than staples is better for the environment because paper clips can be reused, whereas once staples have served their purpose once, they go on to contribute to landfill waste.
Do-It-Yourself
It is possible to be green without buying products made from recycled materials. Students can also demonstrate their concern for the environment in the way they shop for school supplies. For example, buying supplies in bulk is usually an eco-friendly decision because it saves on wasteful packaging materials. Using pen ink refills and refilling ink cartridges for printers also saves on packaging waste and saves money.[katy]
Another cheap way to make school supplies green is to use a two-pocket folder with metal prongs and fill it with loose-leaf paper. This reduces the need for both a folder and a notebook for one class, and saves shoppers money. Also, because it is often difficult to recycle the wire binding of a spiral notebook, these wires often end up in landfills, and buying unbound paper in refill packs prevents waste of that kind. In addition, students can buy packs of regular or recycled filler paper in bulk.
What to Watch Out For
When shopping for eco-friendly supplies, there are a few keywords students can look for to figure out how “green” the item really is. Because the use of the recycling symbol is not government-regulated, it can often be used to “greenwash” consumers. According to Sourcewatch.net, “greenwashing” means falsely advertising a company, industry or product to seem environmentally friendly when it is not. Because of the recent popularity of eco-friendly goods, some companies brand their product with a recycling symbol in an effort to sway consumers’ purchases.
Instead of relying on the recycling symbol, look for labels that indicate a high percentage of “post-consumer content.” According to Oregon Metro’s Buyer’s Guide to Recycled Products, post-consumer content is waste that was diverted from disposal and was used to make a product. Labels that indicate the product is “100 percent recyclable,” also inform the consumer that if disposed of properly, the item will be recycled and re-used in the production of another good.
“I always take paper from old notebooks and put it in different folders so I can reuse it,” telecommunications senior John Crafts said. “Instead of buying all new stuff, you can reuse what you already have, which not only saves you money, but it’s less wasteful too.”
Recently, more and more members of the MSU community are discovering passions for “going green” in various ways. While the purchase of school supplies may appear insignificant to the green movement on first glance, there are plenty of ways students can contribute to the preservation of the planet through their purchases for the new semester.

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Getting Your Money’s Worth

To the many students who are scraping their way through college, $16.75 can be a lot of money. $16.75 out of a typical student’s pocket could go toward a new CD or DVD, a date to the movies, a ticket to a concert or three cups at a party. The prospect of having that extra money each semester could open up some serious spending possibilities for students.

Students may be lacking that extra cash flow partly because each semester, $16.75 of each undergraduate student’s tuition is set aside for Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU), the undergraduate student government.

ASMSU uses this money to provide students with free blue books, yearbooks and legal counsel. The group represents the student body to university administration and organizes concerts, feature lectures and the student tailgate. ASMSU also provides over half a million dollars of student money annually to student groups to fund various events on campus.

While the organization is intended to spend money in ways that benefit the whole student body, some students complain about ASMSU’s decisions, claiming that the organization is out of touch when it comes to spending their money. The largest and most recent event that ASMSU sponsored that stirred some complaints was iVote, a free concert for students at the Breslin Center. The iVote event, which featured artists Brand New and Nas, cost ASMSU around $225,000 and was planned as a means to get more students registered to vote for the upcoming election.

Some students, such as Lyman Briggs sophomore Mary Balog, were not satisfied with ASMSU’s choice of artists for the event. “I wish ASMSU would use my money on something else that’s more worthwhile to me,” Balog said. “I could have used that $16.75 to go to a concert I actually wanted to go to, you know?”

Others, such as media arts and technology junior Kevin Roelofs, did not attend the iVote concert as a result of poor promotion on ASMSU’s part. Roelofs said that he did not attend the concert because he never heard of it or saw any advertisements around campus. International relations junior Sean McNally also said he did not hear of the concert until it was too late for him to attend the event.

Since each undergraduate student helps to fund ASMSU’s events and activities, ideally, each undergraduate student should be involved in deciding where their money goes. However, due to a lack of student participation in events and elections, ASMSU sometimes spends student money according to what only a small population of the student body wants.

Student representatives are used to gauge the student body’s needs and interests, Student Assembly chairperson Michael Webber said. However, when students do not contact their representatives, the organization tends to make some decisions which do not always please the majority of the student body. The organization aims to put the best interests of all students in mind, but difficulties arise since not all students are accurately represented through the members of ASMSU.

ASMSU’s Student Assembly, the portion of the group that organizes events such as the iVote concert, is supposed to be comprised of representatives from each degree-granting college. Students on this assembly are expected to be the voice of the MSU student community regarding non-academic issues that affect student life. The number of representative seats a college is allowed for this assembly is determined proportionately by the number of students in the college, with the most populated colleges having the most representatives. The Academic Assembly, the portion of ASMSU that deals with academic issues affecting students, has two possible seats open for representation from each college, regardless of the amount of students enrolled in the college.

Students from some of the smaller colleges on campus can feel misrepresented, not only because they have less possible seats to fill on the Student Assembly, but also because some colleges are not represented at all. For example, the Colleges of Music, Nursing and Veterinarian Medicine, and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities have no ASMSU representatives in either assembly. The Colleges of Education and Engineering have no representatives in the Student Assembly, and only one of the two possible representatives in the Academic Assembly. In fact, most of the colleges have open seats for representatives.

While a lack of representation may suggest that ASMSU does not always act on the behalf of all MSU students, members of the organization say that ASMSU is not completely to blame. “There’s not a way for us to force people to come out and represent their college,” Webber said. “We are constantly encouraging people to come out from other colleges. The struggle is getting our name out there. We do the best we can with the people we have.”

Despite the fact that ASMSU spends so much student money, medical technology junior Hollie Fleming said a lack of motivation to be an ASMSU representative stems from most students’ lack of knowledge about the organization. “No one knows about ASMSU, what they do or how they can benefit the general population of MSU. That’s why no one wants to run to be a representative,” she said.

In other cases, students may have heard of the organization, but do not know that ASMSU’s budget is made up of student money, and thus have little concern about the organization’s decisions. Fleming said that to call events such as the iVote concert “free” can be misleading because in reality, student money is funding the events.

Not only does ASMSU struggle with acquiring actual representation, but it also finds that many students are uninterested in even voting for anyone who aspires to be a representative. During the second week of April, MSU students are eligible to vote for the representative for their college by logging on to the ASMSU Web site, www.asmsu.msu.edu. Elections are held online during the second week of April, but regardless of ASMSU’s efforts to increase voter interest, participation remains low. Despite voting accessibility on campus and expensive efforts such as a $40,000 concert to increase voter turnout, less than 18 percent of the student body voted in the ASMSU elections last spring. If there are not enough representatives, members can be appointed by ASMSU members without an election.

“It’s important for students to vote for their representatives because when a representative is appointed, they really don’t have to contact anyone from their college. . .they don’t have to reach out and even tell people that they are there,” Academic Assembly representative for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences John Gore said. “When a representative is elected, people know who to go to, and who to hold accountable.”

With limited input coming from students, ASMSU members sometimes find it difficult to make decisions based on the entire student body’s interests, and this problem results in complaints from some students who are unhappy with ASMSU’s decisions. According to members of the organization, ASMSU tries to represent the student body as best it can with limited representatives. “If we find out students are concerned about an issue, we can’t always ask them what they would do. So we kind of decide ‘this is what the students want, so how can we get that?’ and go from there,” Webber said.

The organization’s main dilemma lies in the fact that many students still have no idea what ASMSU is or what it does. Better promotion on ASMSU’s part about what it does and where it gets its money could help to get more students involved in the decision making processes and lower complaints about underrepresentation. “I didn’t realize that we paid money to ASMSU, or that events like the iVote concert are put on with our money,” theatre freshman Amanda Hubbard said. “Knowing that makes me want to look into this more and see where my money is going.”

So what can a concerned student do to ensure that money is spent wisely? The most obvious method of taking an active role in spending his or her own tuition money is to become an ASMSU representative by picking up an election packet from the Student Services building at the beginning of the spring semester. Current representatives say they are glad they did so. “I find it fulfilling,” Gore said. “It can be consuming, and it brought some extra worry into my life in some ways, trying to make sure I do a good job, but it makes me feel important again.”

If becoming a representative is not appealing, students can have input on the spending of their $16.75 a semester by meeting with their college’s representative and voicing concerns or expressing ideas. ASMSU representatives should make their contact information known to all members of the college they represent in order to represent the student body more fully. Students can contact representatives with questions, concerns and ideas, and representatives will bring those ideas to the rest of the ASMSU body.

Some people might not think $16.75 is a significant amount of money, but the majority of college students would most likely disagree. On a campus where students pay thousands of dollars in tuition each year to get an education, every bit of that money counts. While students cannot keep track of every single aspect of college life their money pays for, they can help to make sure that, when it comes to ASMSU, they are getting their money’s worth.

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Fair Trade Hits East Lansing

[free1]For many students, grabbing a cup of coffee before class is a great way to kick-start the day. As well as helping students to get their daily dose of caffeine, something as simple as buying a quick cup of coffee can also help those concerned with such issues as environmental sustainability, fair economic practices and gender equality to fight for their cause. Fair Trade certified coffee and other items available in the East Lansing area allow students to make a more socially conscious choice in consumption while helping to ensure better lives for many families and communities around the globe.
“A lot of college students are unaware of what exactly Fair Trade is,” anthropology and Spanish sophomore Larissa Stenzel said. “However, once you explain it to them, most of the time they are very interested and want to find out ways to help.”
According to TransFair USA, the black and white “Fair Trade Certified” logo on a product guarantees customers that the producers of the good earned fair wages and worked in proper labor conditions. It also promises that the item was produced using environmentally sustainable farming practices and encouraged positive development in the communities of the people who produced the good. It is a symbol of not only economic responsibility and social consciousness for consumers, but of hope and progress for those who work under Fair Trade Certification standards.
Kenneth Deneau, general manager of Sparty’s, stated that the company decided to begin offering Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea in order to “stay abreast of the industry,” and to keep up with other universities that had already begun offering Fair Trade Certified products to their students. “We look at it as a part of the university’s mission of advancing knowledge and transforming lives. Having a consistent [Fair Trade] brand across campus gives us more opportunities to provide the product, and more chances to provide growth for the university,” Deneau said.
Starting in March 2004, Sparty’s began offering Fair Trade coffee and tea daily at all campus locations. By 2006, all of the coffee and tea offered at every Sparty’s on campus was Fair Trade Certified. Today, Fair Trade Certified products are also available in additional places around MSU, including all residence hall cafeterias, the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center and the Union. [larissa]
Within Sparty’s customer base, Deneau cited students as the biggest market for Fair Trade products. “Students have little discretionary money to spend, but they will choose to spend that money in ways that will support issues that matter to them,” he said. “The concerns start with social justice, but there are a lot of other perimeters, such as environmental sustainability, that matter as well.”
Fortunately, the switch to Fair Trade Certified products did not affect the prices for consumers on campus. While Fair Trade products can be more expensive than others because of fees charged by the company that overlooks and certifies Fair Trade standards, MSU has absorbed the extra cost, and Sparty’s has kept their prices low despite the change.
“There are a lot of products in which your dollars can have an impact,” Deneau said. “Coffee is an everyday purchase at a relatively low cost. The opportunity of a Fair Trade purchase not only gives us satisfaction through consumption, but it provides a better lifestyle for others, and from that we receive an even greater sense of satisfaction.” [free]
Farmers who work under Fair Trade Certification standards can count on receiving fair wages for their work, unlike those who work for non-Fair Trade corporations that often pay their laborers extremely low wages. Farmers also enjoy safer working conditions than those employed by large corporations, and an improved quality of life in their communities as a result of the implementation of scholarship programs and other business and social projects. Sustainable methods of agriculture also help farmers preserve the environment they live in, and guarantee a healthy ecosystem for future generations.
In addition to the benefits felt by Fair Trade farmers, students and consumers who purchase Fair Trade goods experience advantages as well. For starters, some students are interested in Fair Trade products because they are of higher caliber than their non-Fair Trade counterparts. “Fair Trade items are often better quality than regular products because of the rigorous certification process they have to go through,” Larry Butz, creative writing and Japanese senior said. “Farmers and workers are paid more than those who are not working under Fair Trade Certification, and therefore they have more incentive to produce a better product.” All in all, well-paid, happy farmers make better coffee.
Scott Dombrowski, an international studies and French senior and the president of MSU campus group Students for Fair Trade, views student consumer benefits on an even larger scale. “There are a number of issues in developing countries that are related to the developed world. Bad working conditions and poor certification processes for non-Fair Trade products create negative side effects toward the U.S. in developing countries, and those problems can affect our country in many ways,” he said. Dombrowski believes that because problems such as our struggling economy and drug use in the U.S. are interrelated with issues in developing countries, students with concerns about such issues can benefit from purchasing Fair Trade goods as well.
Fair Trade products can also be enticing to MSU students who are concerned with the fate of the environment. “Going green” is an interest of many students on campus, and buying Fair Trade goods can help those who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle to achieve their goal. Over 80 percent of Fair Trade Certified coffee is “shade-grown,” which means that rather than being cut down or destroyed, important habitats for many plants and animals are kept intact while the coffee is being grown. Along with using shade-grown methods, Fair Trade farmers work to conserve soil and water through composting and reforestation. Fair Trade Certified coffee farmers are also required to use pest management systems that stress using non-chemical pesticides.
[free3]With those benefits in mind, students searching for socially conscious beverages can not only look no further than their own residence halls and on-campus coffee shops, but they can also wander just a few minutes off campus and find many other local business offering Fair Trade Certified products. Espresso Royale, Bruegger’s Bagels and Green River Café are just a few of the local businesses that serve various types of Fair Trade Certified coffee. The East Lansing Food Co-op (ELFCO) also offers many Fair Trade Certified items such as bulk coffees and teas, roasted and salted nuts, cocoa, rice, molasses, vanilla extract and six different brands of chocolate, along with other items.
While grabbing a coffee, tea or quick snack may be the quickest way for students on campus to support Fair Trade, it is not the only option in the East Lansing area. Located at the intersection of MAC and Albert, Kirabo, the only store in East Lansing composed of strictly Fair Trade items, offers an array of handmade Fair Trade Certified gifts for the socially concerned consumer.
MSU graduate Gail Catron opened the store about a year ago and estimates that about half of her customers during the school year are MSU students. Popular items among students include purses, messenger bags and outerwear such as hats, scarves and “glittens,” (mittens with covers that can be folded back and buttoned down, allowing the wearer to use their fingers as if they were wearing gloves). [catron]
Because there is only one intermediary between Catron and the actual artisans who make the products she sells, she is also able to sell them at inexpensive prices. “I am selling hand-made, woven jackets for fall right now in the $50 range, where sometimes you could see jackets like that going for $200-300,” she said. For the most part, the artisans determine the price of the items, and the amount you pay for a Fair Trade good is relatively close to the price that the artisans chose. In that way, the cost of Fair Trade items is sometimes less than their corporately produced counterparts. “I keep the prices low because I would rather sell a hundred [Fair Trade items] so that families can eat, than raise the price and make a bigger profit for myself,” Catron said.
Members of MSU’s Students for Fair Trade group are hoping that with student help, they will be able to obtain more Fair Trade shops and goods on and around campus in the future. They cite optimism and open-mindedness as a main reason why students are prime candidates to become interested in Fair Trade.
“It is important to get students involved and interested in Fair Trade during college because this is such a critical time in our development as people. We are at a point in our lives in which we are experiencing and learning about cultures other than our own, and are more open-minded to new and different ideas,” Butz said. “We are more likely to get involved and active in a cause such as Fair Trade at this stage in our lives, rather than when we are middle-aged or older.”
“When you walk into an establishment, ask if they serve Fair Trade Certified products. If not, walk out and buy your coffee elsewhere,” Dombrowski suggested. “It’s something small that everyone can do.” He and the rest of the Students for Fair Trade group hope that if enough inquiries start to be made in local businesses, more Fair Trade Certified items will begin appearing in East Lansing shops and restaurants. Buying Fair Trade goods is one of the easier and more inexpensive ways that people can help secure a sustainable and promising future for others and their communities, and if MSU students demand more socially conscious beverages, businesses should comply. [free4]
Fair Trade Certified products around campus allow MSU students to not only satisfy their consumer needs, but to also make a significant difference in the world. Grabbing a quick cup of Fair Trade coffee impacts the lives of other people and helps to promise them a better future for themselves and their families. Saving the world has never been easier.

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