Meeting Minutes Kitchen Cabinet April 16, 2012 Posted on April 23rd, 2012 by

Kitchen Cabinet
April 16, 2012

Present: Joe Lenconi,Jim Dontje, Lisa Heldke, Steve Kjellgren, Molly Yunkers, Judy Douglas ,Bob Douglas, Margo Druschel , Christine Tenhoff , Steve Bennett, Jeff Stocco ,Rebecca, Saskia(representing The Greens), George Elliott

The Real Thing
Steve updated us on the Coke contract and the reasons behind choosing Coke over Pepsi. The Coke representative did comment that they had not engaged in this type of conversation before with any other contracts so this experience was a bit odd for them. Coke is willing to engage in conversations with Gustavus regarding research, scholarships and projects on campus that also support their belief and mission in regards to environment, social responsibility, etc. Gustavus also wants Coke to engage with us in an education fashion and not just from a financial standpoint. The Research Scholarship program money is coming from Corporate Coke, not locally and this is the first of its kind and will be developed over time with conversations from Coke and Steve. It was also noted that overall students did prefer coke products and the price on the product overall was better. We did explain to Coke as to why we chose them so they did have our feedback on how the process worked for us. It was also noted that Coke has compostable cups and lids and we will switch over to those once we have the capability to compost.
It was noted that educating the corporation as to why we chose them is helpful for that corporation. As well as saying no to Pepsi, it might educate them in the future as to how they can engage. Pepsi is doing good stuff, but they had no strings attached to their money. And Steve did respond to Pepsi as to why the campus chose Coke.

Steve noted that he would like the Kitchen Cabinet to be involved with Coke in how we want the research and scholarship money put to use. Steve and Lisa will also be presenting this process at a conference this summer. Also, send Steve and Lisa your thoughts on how this process was meaningful to you.

A KC member noted that we really want the student to be the center of this Coke proposal and what would that look like? What would be projects that we would propose to use the money for, how many different players can we get at the table to talk about what direction we can go with this money? Possibly an internal RFP? It may not be discussed until the fall as we are nearing the end of the semester. The more places we can talk about how we went about this process, maybe the more we can get everyone else talking about how they may make decisions for the campus.

Fair Trade
Margo Druschel from the Advising Center joined us and shared her story working with Fair Trade USA organization. Margo has been on this committee for about ten years and recently took a trip to the Dominican Republic as a member of the Fair Trade USA team. Margo also noted that Mankato became the 25th fair trade town in the United States in October 2011. Fair Trade has bettered the lives of 7 million people in the South. She discussed the Fair Trade Certification process and noted that it can be cost prohibitive for some producers. If you are choosing someone who is not certified Fair Trade you want to make sure and do your research so you know the money is going where it needs to go. Margo described the Fair Trade organization and what it means. It does literally mean that when the goods are sold the workers do get a fair wage. The working conditions are also better. The products often have fewer pesticides on them. About 90% of Fair Trade is also organic. Some of the fair trade towns have water purification systems, clinics may be built closer to where they live and girls may be provided with an education. Fair Trade really does make a difference in people’s lives. Fair Trade will cost us more, but can’t we pay more for something that is worth more to the people who are producing the goods? As a campus are we willing to pay more for the product and educate our campus on what Fair Trade really means and what it provides to the producers of the products? Margo commented that we already do a great job providing fair trade coffee and some other products on campus, and could we be doing more as a campus.
Margo did talk about t-shirts that are available – they would cost more – but would it be worth it to have in our campus bookstore? Molly talked about how it is easy to bring in these t-shirts to the book store and other campuses in the state of Minnesota do carry these same t-shirts and they are well accepted.
Margo talked a bit about a wish list – it would be nice to have St. Peter become an official fair trade town. A number of places in town are already committed to fair trade. It would take a group of community members to form and then start working on reaching out to various places in the community. The city would then need to endorse the efforts and agree to use fair trade products. The Kitchen Cabinet was most appreciative of Margo sharing her knowledge and stories regarding Fair Trade.

Respectfully submitted – George Elliott M.S./ R.D. Gustavus Adolphus College


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