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Louisiana College Leads Fair Trade

One university in Louisiana is leading the way in fair trade textiles. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette bookstore has committed to selling fair-trade apparel

One university in Louisiana is leading the way in fair trade textiles. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette bookstore has committed to selling fair-trade apparel made by workers receiving livable wages, following the efforts of a student-run campaign.

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The university chapter of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Student Ambassadors spent the semester working to make the change, The Acadiana Advocate reported.

“Essentially, what we are saying is that every purchasing act is a moral act,” Amélie Desormeaux, president of CRS, told The Acadiana Advocate. “It’s not just this moral transaction—it’s a human transaction. I am buying the goods that human hands have gone into making.”

The school’s bookstore is beginning a partnership with Alta Gracia Apparel, a Dominican Republic-based company with a social mission to pay living wages to its workers. Alta Gracia is a subsidiary of Knights Apparel—which, in turn, is owned by Hanesbrands.

Once it is properly licensed, the university has committed to making an order to Alta Gracia. However, the current apparel will not be removed from the current stock, or cut ties with Adidas, the football team’s current apparel sponsor.

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“[CRS wasn’t] looking to take away brands from the bookstore or anything like that,” Wil Perkins, the university’s Student Government Association president, told The Acadiana Advocate. “They were asking to add a brand, offering more to students.”

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