Fair Trade Penn State » About Us

About Us


Fair Trade Penn State (FTPSU) is a student-led philanthropy supporting the Fair Trade Movement to promote sustainable solutions to global poverty. We are non-political and non-denominational. Fair Trade Penn State advocates for the consumption of ethically-made products, and seeks to embed Fair Trade into the Penn State University Park campus culture.


What We Do

FTPSU sponsors events to encourage informed, ethical buying practices that support human rights. FTPSU also promotes campaigns of other related nonprofit organizations that identify human needs. We are looking to recruit dedicated students who exhibit an interest in mobilizing the Penn State community to commit to ethical consuming practices and gaining valuable leadership skills while making an impact in people’s lives. Fair Trade Penn State educates Penn State students, the State College community and interested parties around the state of Pennsylvania about the Fair Trade movement. The fair trade system allows the poor to sustainably and permanently lift themselves out of poverty, without continual reliance on short term aid.  Fair Trade certified products mean workers behind these goods are guaranteed fair, long-term jobs, and can pay for necessities like food, clean water, and their children’s education.


Fair Trade Penn State frequently collaborates with other student groups, outside nonprofits, and Penn State departments. Most of our events are co-sponsored with other organizations. Here are some groups we’ve worked with in the past:International Justice Mission, Oxfam, Labor Studies Department, USAS, Penn State UNICEF, Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs, Amnesty International, Free the Slaves, Toms Shoes, New Leaf Initiative, Fair Trade Universities/Fair Trade USA, Enough Project

General Goals

  • Reach out to the Penn State and State College retail stores to include more fairly made merchandise
  • Change consumer choices in favor of fairly made products (Make ethical buying more popular!)
  • Raise awareness about the issues surrounding unfair labor, and how easy it is to change
  • Petition companies that are choosing to continue unfair practices
  • Provide feedback to fair trade companies on how to improve their brands to be competitive for student buyers



Fair Trade Penn State was founded at Penn State in 2009 by student and Rock Ethics Stand-Up Award recipient Barbara Donnini (Statistics & Economics, ’12), with the goal to increase awareness among consumers about the manufacturing processes of major industries. The group was originally named “Demand,” a play on the economic idea of supply and demand. However, in 2012 members felt the name “Fair Trade Penn State” was more straightforward and better reflected the group’s mission. Learn about Fair Trade Penn State’s past events here.