Fair Trade coffee again an option at Sodexho

Fair Trade coffee is now on the menu at the Dining Commons, Eagles’ Nest and Jammin’ Java, thanks to the efforts of the justice-oriented student group SPEAK.

“When the idea was brought to us, we decided to give the students what they want,” Sodexho retail supervisor Steve Jacke said. “So we’re giving it a shot to see how it goes.”

Whether or not Sodexho keeps Fair Trade coffee depends on the level of student interest in Fair Trade coffee, according to members of SPEAK.

Members of SPEAK met with Jacke, Sodexho operations director Mike Kenis, Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham and Biblical Studies professor Dwight Peterson on Wednesday, November 9, according to junior Jocelyn Davco.

They reached an agreement with Sodexho to start offering Fair Trade coffee in the Eagles’ Nest and the Dining Commons. The Jammin’ Java is also active in the plan: now any drink there can be made with Fair Trade coffee.

According to first-year Adam Beach, the Fair Trade Organization helps farmers form co-ops, enabling them to directly export their products. These products consist mostly of coffee, but also include products such as chocolate and some fruits and vegetables, according to Davco.

“In doing so, they eliminate the middlemen that get in the way of their getting direct profits,” Beach said.

To encourage student interest and increase the popularity of Fair Trade coffee, members of SPEAK set up a table outside Walton on November 21 and offered to help pay the price difference between Fair Trade coffee and conventional coffee.

Fair Trade coffee is about 45 cents more expensive than regular coffee, but costs nothing in the cafeteria, according to Beach.

According to members of SPEAK, though, the coffee is of a higher grade than the Maxwell House coffee that Sodexho also offers.

“It’s a choice between horrible Maxwell House coffee or ethical coffee that tastes really good,” Beach said.

SPEAK members said they have been encouraged by the student response so far, calling it “mixed.”

Sodexho and SPEAK planned to hold a follow-up meeting November 30.

“They really do want to help, they just have dollar signs in their heads that, as administrators, they really are under pressure to be aware of,” Davco said.

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