ASUCR advocates for fair trade and diverse food options for students

Diverse Food – Courtesy of UCR

On Wednesday, May 12, ASUCR held their weekly senate meeting. President Pro Tempore Orlando Cabalo presented SR-S21-009 UC Riverside Fair Trade & Labor Resolution. Members of the Fair Trade Club at UCR authored the resolution to call upon the incorporation and promotion of fair trade products in campus dining services in an effort to support environmentally sustainable principles and proper working conditions for people and communities that are traditionally exploited by conventional food systems, stated the resolution.

Fair trade products are sourced ethically and sustainably and its approach enables farmers and workers to have more control over their lives by ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, environmental sustainability and prohibiting forced labor of any kind.

The resolution outlines multiple reasons why UCR should become a fair trade university. For example, the resolution states that growers of coffee, tea, chocolate and other products produced in Latin America, Africa and Asia are often paid less than a living wage, as little as $2 a day, and forced child labor may be involved where over 2 million children below the age of 15 perform dangerous work in the cocoa industry; additionally, conventional means of growing coffee and other commodities are often damaging to the environment. 

Through the resolution, the Fair Trade club and ASUCR will work to increase campus awareness of fair trade and its importance. SR-S21-009 UC Riverside Fair Trade & Labor Resolution passed with a vote of 13-0-0.

SR-S21-010 Proposition to Diversify Food Options for Various Dietary Needs was primarily authored by CHASS Senator Mufida Assaf, CNAS Senator Akanksha Sancheti and Vice President of Sustainability Vanessa Gomez-Alvarado. The resolution hopes to bring diverse food options to meet most students’ dietary needs and preferences. The resolution passed with a vote of 13-0-0.

During Committee Reports, Mark Hanin, the vice-chair of the Student Voice Committee presented the results of their Academic Advising Survey. The Academic Advising Survey was conducted to analyze the various aspects of students’ academic advising experience in order to understand how it can be enhanced in the future. The survey found that 49.5% of transfer students at UCR meet with their academic advisor at least once per quarter compared to 37.9% of non-transfer students. The survey also found that, on average, advisors take one to two days to respond to emails.

Towards the end of the meeting, Senator Asaf used her platform to bring awareness to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Palestinians in the city of Sheik Jarrah are being pushed out of their homes by Israeli soldiers, women and children are being terrorized by the Israeli government in Gaza and recently the Israeli military injured over 200 Muslim Palestinians during this holy month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa mosque,” she said. “This isn’t a religious war against Muslims and jews, it’s ethnic cleansing.” Asaf encouraged the senate to educate themselves on the issues that Palestine is currently facing and encouraged them to attend upcoming events hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine.

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