Fair Trade coffees and teas have no competition at the Eagle’s Nest and Jammin’ Java this year.
Earlier this summer, Sodexho leadership decided to sell only Fair Trade coffees and teas in those locations and to provide Fair Trade coffee in the Dining Commons.
“The decision was made to accommodate the students’ request,” general manager Mike Kenis said.
Previously, Fair Trade products had been sold only at the Jammin’ Java alongside the regular coffees and teas. Specialty drinks did not have Fair Trade options.
Members of SPEAK, a social justice group on campus, worked last semester to get Sodexho to go all Fair Trade and said they are pleased with the switch this year.
“It’s a step forward in the process of how Eastern engages the world,” senior SPEAK leader Dan Leonard said.
Sara Frymoyer, fellow senior SPEAK leader, said that she was thrilled about how much Sodexho was able to accommodate their request. For example, Sodexho retail supervisor Steve Jacke was able to find Fair Trade teas, even though that was not a request SPEAK had made, she said.
Sodexho also provided refillable mugs that can be purchased and used to get discounts at the Jammin’ Java and Eagle’s Nest. SPEAK had simply asked if there was a way to cut down on disposable cups, according to Frymoyer.
“They went above and beyond what we asked,” she said.
The one remaining area of disagreement between SPEAK and Sodexho is the presence of the Maxwell House machine in the Dining Commons. Maxwell House is not a Fair Trade company, according to Leonard and Frymoyer.
According to Jacke, Sodexho needs a machine that can brew large amounts of coffee quickly. Maxwell House coffee, he said, comes as a liquid concentrate that has no brew time, while Fair Trade coffee comes in regular grounds and must be brewed.
Because Sodexho does catering, and because coffee use in the Dining Commons varies, Jacke said it is necessary to keep the no-brew coffee on hand.
“We haven’t found a machine that is convenient for us to use,” he said. “We’re looking.”
Both Leonard and Frymoyer said that dialogue with Sodexho will most likely continue over the Maxwell House machine.
“It’s still an issue,” Frymoyer said. “We’d be willing to openly dialogue about it.”
Students seem glad to have Fair Trade in the Dining Commons.
“Since we’re a school that focuses so much on justice, it’s only right we act on it,” senior Gina Macchia said.
Sophomore Brian Campbell agreed.
“It’s part of going to Eastern,” he said. “We’re justice-minded, and we’re living that out in a small way with the coffee.”