December 9, 2010 Volume CXXVIII Issue 12

Student discusses fair trade

By LEANNDRA PADGETT
Staff Writer

Look for orange signs like this one to find out about anti-slavery events on campus.

Back in October, Brittney Thomas, Ky. state director of Not For Sale (an abolitionist group), spoke during Common Ground about modern-day slavery (yes, slavery—today—in the United States—in Kentucky).

As hard as it is to believe, in 2010 there are as many as 27 million slaves in the world. Slavery comes in numerous forms. People are held in bondage as household servants, child soldiers, agricultural and industrial workers, sex slaves—the list goes on and on.

In her speech, Brittney informed us specifically about slavery in the chocolate industry, telling us that most of the world’s chocolate is made from cocoa beans harvested through slave labor. Much of this occurs on the Ivory Coast in Africa, and many of the slaves are children.

How can you be sure that your chocolate is not being made by slaves? Chocolate labeled “Fair Trade” meets standards ensuring that workers and producers get fair wages for their labor. Ethically traded (a separate set of guidelines) chocolate is another good option that can be found in Georgetown’s Kroger.

Fair trade does not end with chocolate. Slave labor touches almost every industry. For ways to support slave-free production through your shopping, check out http://www.freetoshop.org and http://www.shoptostopslavery.com.

Also, whenever you’re in Lexington, stop by Lucia’s World Friendly Boutique for handmade art or Whole Foods Market for food products. Wherever you are, look for “Fair Trade Certified” on the labels of products.

Last week, GC was reminded of Brittney’s talk when large orange signs appeared around campus. The wooden signs were in the shape of hands, bound with rope and padlocks. Information about a viewing of the documentary “Call and Response” was posted on the signs.

Shown by Georgetown’s Modern- Day Slavery Committee (MDSC), the movie was an overview of types of slavery today and an exposition of musicians’ musical response to the problem.

An emotional and inspiring film, “Call and Response” is available in the LRC. This was just the first in a series of movies that the MDSC will be showing next semester, leading up to the Not For Sale campaign (remember that group that Brittney works with?) on campus.

Keep looking for those orange signs—they will be placed around the college to advertise other anti-slavery events in the future.

Christmas Break To-Do List:
– Check out the Not For Sale-GeorgetownCollege group on Facebook
– Buy some fair trade Christmas presents
– Watch “Call and Response”
– Pray for slavery to end
– Help make it happen


Student suggests a classier alcohol policy

By JONATHAN BALMER
Staff Writer

J.R.R. Tolkien, a well-known Christian scholar, enjoys his pipe while reading a book in the best tradition of a lifelong learner.

It is finals week. All you tired and battle-weary, take a break from studying and let us reflect momentarily on just what all of this school business means. When cramming a semester’s worth of academic material, it is easy to forget our college’s mission statement and how it applies to our lives just as much as our classes.

Our college mission statement claims, “Georgetown College is an innovative community (live) of scholars developing ethical scholars (learn) committed to our heritage of Christian discernment (believe).” Two interesting points become apparent.

Firstly, the “scholars” (faculty) charged with “developing ethical scholars” (students) are not necessarily ethical themselves, according to the mission statement. How bothersome this is! I suggest we remedy this situation by giving any unethical faculty a stern time-out in the corner to reform them. Then we might, ethically, of course, change the language in our mission statement to proclaim proudly all our faculty are, now, happily moral.

But Alas!–This is not what I planned to write about. There is a second point, a more pressing matter raised by the mission statement: Georgetown students simply aren’t taking their supposed scholarship out of the classroom.

After graduation, Georgetown alumni certainly go on to do great things in graduate school and their careers, but this is not what I mean by taking scholarship out of the classroom. Sure, at Georgetown we have book-smart intellectuals with a certain percentage of hyper-confident, self-assured, elites who may have even attended a certain prestigious English university for a semester or two. But, as a whole, fellow Georgetonians, we simply don’t look or act the part.

Let me explain this scholarly-image problem through the lens of alcohol and tobacco. Yes, I have in the past argued there is merit to our campus’ dry campus policy. My main point cited the ridiculous attitude toward substances by American college-aged students and the potential for abuse and property damage which would negatively impact our lovely little campus community. But what if we could encourage classy, scholarly behavior while allowing students more freedom? What a wonderful situation in which we might, metaphorically, both possess and consume cake! Here is what I propose: Georgetown College should enact policies to actively encourage a sophisticated alcohol and tobacco culture.

This policy for alcohol would entail allowing alcohol to be consumed on campus but restricting the forms of alcohol allowed to certain types.

Don’t be like this guy.

Right now, many students have a drink-to-get-drunk attitude. Unsurprisingly, a cursory survey of the outside of residence houses across campus reveals discarded cans and bottles of Budweiser and Miller beer which are used to achieve this end.

This classier alcohol policy would continue to ban cheap beers such as these. The plan to disallow cheap beer while allowing champagne, scotch (on or off the rocks), expensive wines or other fine alcohol beverages would change the campus’ collective attitude of alcohol. As a part of this policy, the college should administer harsh punishments liberally to students found in possession of the wrong sort of alcohol.

The increased price of these finer beverages, combined with the harsh punishments, could create a more sophisticated atmosphere. This policy would encourage students to behave like discerning, ethical scholars while allowing them more freedom. The change would show itself in student conversations. Students would say to one another much less often, “Hey, bro / female-variant-of-a-bro, it’s the weekend—ready to get wasted?” Increasingly, students would be found saying, “Hello friends! I just received word my thesis-driven essay on Chaucer received an A+ from my professor— let us enjoy this champagne in moderation!”

A trade-off for this freedom with alcohol includes a change in tobacco regulations (but rest-assured the policy would still allow tobacco).

Currently, I see a disgusting habit which frightens me: smokeless chewing tobacco juice sitting in discarded containers all over campus—how crude! Let me suggest a more bourgeois method to obtain a nicotine buzz. A method, mind you, utilized by ethical Christian scholars such as J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: smoking from a pipe.

Rather than common hand-held cigarettes or dip, the policy would allow students to smoke from a pipe or smoke fancy cigarettes from long cigarette holders (posh, educated, young women traditionally employ the latter method). Remember, you can take a pipe out of your mouth easily and speak clearly—the same is not true with a wad of chew.

Moreover, experiencing tobacco outside forms popular among the “little people” could also become a culturally enlightening experience to enrich Georgetown scholars in this globalizing age. Imagine a CEP/ Nexus event in which students can learn about Middle Eastern and Indian culture whilst smoking hookah.

Alternatively, students could learn about the American Indian diplomacy while smoking a replica of the ceremonial Calumet, or “peace pipe,” used by some tribes, to immerse them in the culture of this continent’s first settlers.

When we work to apply our mission statement to our everyday lives, the most wonderful of happenings happen. Certainly you agree?

Yes, this was primarily a joke, enjoy it, but remember time is a luxury. Get back to work you beer-chugging, dip-chewing, classless fiends! . . . . I am sorry. That was harsh. I love you all. Finals bring out the worst in all of us: breathe, everyone.

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