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Social Justice Club wants to replace Starbucks with Metropolis Coffee Co.

Kirsten+Markusic%2C+Social+Justice+Club+president%2C+serves+students+and+teachers+coffee+samples.+
Kirsten Markusic, Social Justice Club president, serves students and teachers coffee samples.

Kirsten Markusic, Social Justice Club president, serves students and teachers coffee samples.

Towfiq Tofail

Towfiq Tofail

Kirsten Markusic, Social Justice Club president, serves students and teachers coffee samples.

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The Social Justice Club is asking for signatures to replace Starbucks with Metropolis Coffee Co. with concerns that Starbucks is not a fair trade company.

Kirsten Markusic, Social Justice Club president and senior sociology major, said that in addition to asking for signatures, the Social Justice Club is also giving free samples of Metropolis Coffee to raise awareness of local fair trade every Monday until April 24.

Fair trade is trade in which fair prices are made for products that are produced in developing countries, along with ensuring employees are given fair wages and treated with respect.

“This goes into our larger idea of Social Justice Club of being an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, pro-working class organization since 2002,” Markusic said. “When we’re talking about modern day slavery, we’re trying to do something on this campus that fights against people being exploited.”

Markusic received the idea from Social Justice Club member and English graduate student Mayra Ramirez. Ramirez works for a fair trade business in Hammond called Tree of Life Imports that focuses on bringing in arts and crafts from Guatemala and El Salvador. Metropolis Coffee Co. is part of the Chicago fair trade movement. When Ramirez went to a student summit about fair trade in universities, she wanted to bring that to PNW.

“We are looking to try to make Purdue a fair trade university,” Ramirez said. “We want to change the coffee to be fair trade and have the producers be from a fair trade company. We wanted to start off with coffee first because coffee is consumed mostly at PNW and we think that it would make a bigger impact to the students. You’re not just buying into a fair trade coffee, but organic coffee and making sure that people have fair wages.”

According to Markusic and Ramirez, they both have researched Starbucks and Metropolis Coffee and discovered that although Starbucks has some fair trade, Metropolis is 100 percent fair trade.

“Metropolis is based and founded on fair trade. They do everything that they can to promote fair trade. Starbucks does not do much fair trade. They say they do fair trade, but it is actually minimal with 8.5 percent fair trade certified,” Markusic said.

The Social Justice Club’s goal is to receive 500 signatures from students in support of replacing Starbucks with Metropolis Coffee. Markusic said there are approximately 75 signatures as of April 2.

“We need student body support with the signatures because the university is not going to want to make the change unless they know that the students will actually consume that coffee,” Ramirez said.

Markusic said that she will be meeting with the Student Government Association to ask them to help and support that Social Justice Club in promoting the replacement of Starbucks on April 14.

“We need Student Government support so that they can help us in creating this change. We can’t do it without the students and without Student Government,” Markusic said.

Markusic and Ramirez hope to see the removal of Starbucks over the summer and have the implementation of Metropolis Coffee finished before Fall 2017.

“The outcome if we succeed is that we would be making a bigger social impact. If you buy a cup of coffee you know you will make a difference because the people who are producing that coffee are receiving a fair wage and have good working conditions as compared to other companies,” Ramirez said. “They usually don’t pay their workers a good wage and they are considered as common slaves. It is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping small businesses and also helping those in smaller communities.”

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