Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences designated first Fairtrade University of North Rhine-Westphalia (press release)

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences once again stands out, this time as the first and only university in North Rhine-Westphalia to have earned the title of Fairtrade University. This title acknowledges Rhine-Waal University’s commitment to nurturing a campus environment that supports fair trade and working conditions for people across the globe. President Dr. Heide Naderer accepted the award certificate on behalf of the University.

Rhine-Waal University has assumed a pioneering role in North Rhine-Westphalia as the state’s first Fairtrade University. "We are very proud of this award. It serves to highlight how much this topic means to us as a University working towards sustainability", President Dr. Heide Naderer points out. On behalf of the University, the President accepted the certificate from Kristina Klecko, the TransFair Association’s public relations advisor for Fairtrade Universities.

Fairtrade Universities are higher education institutions throughout Germany that have been certified by the non-profit organization TransFair for actively contributing to the fair trade cause. All German postsecondary education institutions, including private and state universities, universities of applied sciences or academies, can apply. Five criteria must be met to earn the title, ranging from the expansion of the choice of fair trade products offered on campus, to courses and events on the subject. Students, administration and campus food services must work hand in hand to support global fair trade practices.

Rhine-Waal University qualified for the award by achieving all required criteria. To that end, several events held over the course of last semester were dedicated to the topic of fair trade. Moreover, promoting fair trade has been introduced at the curricular level as well. "As part of the interdisciplinary project Fair Trade Electronics, for instance, students investigated the extent to which smartphones are produced and traded in a fair way", explains Prof. Dr. Irmgard Buder of the Faculty of Communication and Environment. In addition, an assortment of certified fairtrade products are offered in the canteen, the cafeterias and during internal events. These activities are coordinated by a steering committee specially formed for this purpose, consisting of passionate students, University administrators, the General Students’ Committee (ASTA) and the Studierendenwerk, a state-run non-profit organization for student affairs in Germany.

"Above all, for us this title represents both a call and an obligation to continue sharpening our own awareness of the topic and to step up our already active support for fairness in trade and commerce throughout Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences," said Dr. Naderer before expressly thanking the steering committee members for their commitment.