Tamsien West, Co-ordinator of this years Fairly Educated Conference, writes about the outcomes and aims from a very successful weekend.
From the 27th – 29th of July Melbourne played host to 120 Fair Trade advocates from universities around Australia and New Zealand at the second annual Fairly Educated Conference. Across three days students and staff from 19 ANZ universities heard from influential members of the Fair Trade community about a variety of topics; from the underlying reasons behind the Fair Trade movement, to the functions of university procurement departments, and crash courses in event planning and leadership.
Overall the purpose of the conference was to bring together university students from Australia and New Zealand, with the aim of increasing their knowledge of Fair Trade, equipping them with excellent leadership and campaigning skills, as well as providing an invaluable opportunity to network with like-minded students, staff, businesses and organisations.
The 2012 conference was hosted by five Victorian universities: Deakin, La Trobe, Melbourne, Monash and RMIT. After the exciting announcement from Fairtrade ANZ’s Daniel Mackey on the last day of the conference that Deakin University had received Fair Trade Accreditation, we were proud to say that all five host universities were Fair Trade Accredited. This brought the total number of Fairtrade Universities in Australia to seven, with the five Victorian, Macquarie University in NSW and University of Adelaide in SA.
Amid the buzz of Fair Trade Accreditation, it came time for the second big announcement of the weekend. Co-founders and leaders of the Fairly Educated Movement, Chris and Victoria Hoy, used the conference as their platform to launch an ambitious campaign to make every university in Australia and New Zealand Fair Trade Accredited by 2015. The first step in the campaign involves a petition targeted at two influential organisations many universities are members of. In less than two weeks the petition has already gathered almost 900 signatures calling for Fair Trade to be put on the agenda and made a priority at all universities.
The conference was a huge success with overwhelmingly positive feedback, and many strong friendships being made, to carry the Fair Trade movement forward in the future.
If you would like to find out more about the Fairly Educated Movement visit: www.fairlyeducated.com
For more information about the 2012 Conference or to access resources visit: www.fairlyeducatedconference.com
To sign the petition and help make every university in Australia and New Zealand Fair Trade Accredited by 2015 visit: www.change.org/everyuni