You don’t have to be a student at Nottingham long before you learn to dodge the hazards of the Portland building. I’m not proud of it, but I have been known to employ the ‘head down, walk fast’ stance to avoid the keen glare of a person with a clipboard. They may offer you cake, but as they say in cynical circles “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. These people want your signature – but don’t just scribble away on their petition convinced that the cause has nothing to do with you.
On behalf of an organisation called People and Planet, Nottingham students have been gathering support in a campaign to provide more Fair Trade clothing in the SU shop. As a university that has held Fair Trade status since 2004, Nottingham has the responsibility of providing Fair Trade alternatives “wherever reasonably possible”. And by “alternatives” I don’t mean swapping your KGs for reinforced green bean sandals – Fair Trade clothing is exactly the same as any other, it just comes complete with a conscience.
Lizzie Balcombe, President of People and Planet Nottingham, spoke of how buying Fair Trade clothing “shows that you have given consideration to the conditions under which your clothing was manufactured”. It’s easy to forget that the cotton trade can have a dark side, and it’s our responsibility as consumers to have an awareness of our impact on the wider world. Promisingly, People and Planet has found that “most students were very receptive to the idea of increasing the amount of Fair Trade clothing available” and, as such, they obtained over 300 signatures in just 3 hours.
The SU President has since submitted the petition to the University of Nottingham Students’ Union trading company, and the outcome has yet to be decided. In the mean time, Fair Trade fashion is readily available on the internet and high street, with Topshop, Oasis and even Marks and Spencer’s getting in on the action. Topshop’s famed collaboration with People Tree means that the ethical clothing range is easy to get your hands on, and there is currently an array of stylish winter essentials on offer. And if that’s not enough to tempt you, I’ve heard on the grapevine that Nottingham Trent has more Fair Trade clothing on offer than we do – pride is at stake people.
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