FIT Students Visit 2014 NYC Green Festival

FIT Students Visit 2014 NYC Green Festival

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting and educating 15 High School students who registered to take a 4-day “Global Fashion Business” Saturday Workshop at the Fashion Institute of Technology.   The workshop covered the topics of: international marketing, management, career options and sustainability. Fortunately, one of our class meetings fell on Saturday, April 26, 2014 while the NYC Green Festival (www.greenfestivals.org) was in town so we decided to leave the classroom and head to Peir 94 — the event site. After all, what better way for students to learn about sustainability than by attending this event and meeting with the businesses and organizations leading the effort.

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Students enjoyed meeting with numerous exhibitors and sampling their products. A variety of industries were represented, from fashion (e.g. Green Eileen www.greeneileen.org) to body care (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap www.drbronner.com) to food products (e.g. Halo chips www.oceanshalo.com) and many more.

Eco-fashion was a hot topic for our group and students had particular interest in Green Eileen. As described on their website, “GREEN EILEEN is a recycled clothing program committed to reducing environmental impact and generating income to support programs that improve the lives of women and girls. By selling gently worn EILEEN FISHER clothing, we extend the life of timeless garments and are able to support the non-profit programs in which we so strongly believe. Sustainability is about having a long-term orientation to the way we use the Earth’s natural resources. In recent years, corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability have received mainstream attention, and the global consciousness has taken up the charge to reduce our human impact. However, the garment industry is still one of the largest sources of waste and pollution. Did you know? • The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothes per year. • Over 4% of global landfills are filled with clothing and textiles. • Almost 100% of used clothing is recyclable.” http://www.greeneileen.org/our-story

After meeting with the Green Eileen representatives, students expressed the following reactions to the program: “I’m totally cool with reusing garments as long as it’s not undergarments”; “I like that they are giving the product multiple lifecycles — by having the same item used by more than one person!”

In addition to meeting exhibitors, students were also able to listen to the speaker panel sessions. For example, they attended the “Greening your Closet with Style” panel led by Kate Black, Founder of Magnifeco (www.magnifeco.com). Her panel featured a wonderful, smart and diverse group that highlighted some inspiring work happening across the globe. Topics covered vintage clothing, eco-fashion, Fair Trade and promoting the skills of indigenous artisans. Panelists included Carolina Cantor (www.ShopEthica.com), Monisha Raja (www.LoveIsMighty.com), Ariana Boussard Reifel (www.modemarteau.com), and Swati Argade (www.bhoomki.com).

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Ariana Boussard Reifel, Founder of Mode Marteau (www.modemarteau.com), advised the audience that they have the power to make change and have “an amazing number of options to choose from.” “You have an option to take political action; you can choose to contribute to things you don’t believe in or you can choose to fight against them; shopping is like a political action”. “Eco fashion can be used as a weapon for social justice; it’s a revolution against the toxic chemical world that we are living in.” For example, Ariana’s “weapon of choice” is vintage clothing and that’s how she maintains her eco-fashion wardrobe. She believes that anybody can purchase vintage or used clothing because it’s easy and typically less expensive than new clothing. Ariana enjoys its uniqueness and high quality. Her business supports this effort and more: “As a value-lead business we proudly implement sustainable practices in all aspects of the business, from credit-union banking to recycled packaging, to the innately world-friendly act of sharing and reusing wonderful things. We believe that when you take creative license with your wardrobe you are expressing a little bit of your true self, and that is a good thing.” http://www.modemarteau.com/about

Carolina Cantor, Co-Founder and Fashion Director of Shop Ethica (www.ShopEthica.com), stated that “Fashion is the 2nd most polluting Industry after oil.” For example, “One can determine the color trends by looking at dye run-off in Chinese rivers.” She is focusing on empowering local communities to create long term change.   As outlined on her website, “Our goal is to connect consumers and companies that share a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Through this website, we hope to contextualize shopping within a larger global narrative, highlighting the very real impacts of our collective consumption choices. The designers featured on this site create beautiful products and responsible companies. They’ve invested time and resources in being as ‘planet and people friendly’ as possible. Some of the commitments they’ve made include: sourcing ecologically responsible materials, developing sustainable production processes, treating their workers well, and giving to charity.” They also believe in Trade Not Aid, “Whereas charity can provide immediate relief to people in need, the goal of commerce in the context of ethical fashion is more long-term: to create sustainable employment opportunities that can permanently lift people out of poverty. The brands listed under our Trade Not Aid category employ artisans and workers in developing countries in fair-practice settings, aiming to nurture a demand for their skills and empower their communities to prosper.” http://www.shopethica.com/ethical-practices/trade-not-aid

Students were also excited to meet Monisha Raja, Founder of Love Is Mighty (www.LoveIsMighty.com). During a discussion in class, they articulated the following: “Monisha created the company Love is Mighty to sustain India’s culture. She uses products that are typically thought of as garbage, such as candy wrappers to produce a line of vegan shoes and accessories. Monisha is trying to prevent the loss of Indian culture by creating sustainable work environments to allow her workers to support their families.” Additional reactions included: “Her shoes are beautiful….I love them!”; “I support her….I like what she is doing”; “She is trying to prevent the people from losing the craft”; “If people go on to work in other industries, they are likely to be exposed to cruelty and not treated fairly”; “Artisans work in their natural habitats, happy doing what they want to do and not being forced to do something just to survive.” As highlighted on Monisha’s website, “Construction dominates India’s big cities, more and more tribal artisans in rural villages are giving up their centuries-old craft to learn to hang drywall and mix cement. Talented hands are having to abandon what they know and love. Thousands of years of Indian traditions are about to vanish. Your shoes were born from a passion to preserve these indigenous crafts. To give artisans the respect they deserve and the means to provide for their families.” http://www.loveismighty.com/story.html

Swati Argade, Creative Director and CEO of Bhoomki, is a designer with a mission: “To make ethically fashioned, high-quality, low-quantity collections for my customers, not trend-driven clothes worn for a single season.” During the panel discussion, she described how cotton is one of the least sustainable fibers, due to the high levels of water and pesticides that are used in the manufacturing process. As stated on her website, her company is focused on “Ethically Fashioned Fabrics and Fair-trade Production. When you make a Bhoomki purchase, you help preserve the earth and support traditional artisans around the world. You shrink your carbon footprint, you help keep poison out of our rivers, you support endangered textile traditions, and ensure that factory workers receive a fair wage and thrive in humane working conditions. Bhoomki features brands that source organic, recycled and/or artisan fabrics. Our in-house line is cut and sewn clothes in child-free factories where workers receive a living wage under humane working conditions. Whenever possible, we manufacture in NYC, use low-impact dyes and offset shipping costs with carbon credits toward renewable energy initiatives. We do all of the above without sacrificing superb craftsmanship, quality and fit.” http://www.bhoomki.com/about-us

Answering a question from the audience about how to determine if a company is “green washing”, Kate stated “the best way for a consumer to know is by researching what the company stands for; what is the core of the business. It is also important for consumers to understand the origin of the product.”

Students overall reactions to attending the 2014 NYC Green Festival included the following: “I had a good time…I’m glad I went”; “I had fun, I learned a lot about food, body care, fashion…I really liked it!”; “I thought of myself as eco-friendly…now I want to take it to the next level”; “I want to research and learn about the working conditions and the production of clothing before I purchase”; “I will look for less fast fashion and more higher quality clothing”; “I will shop at used clothing stores”; “I will support smaller businesses because they tend to produce better quality than bigger mass production businesses”; and, “I am more aware.”

These students have not only made changes in their thinking and attitude about sustainability but also started to “walk to talk”. For example, one student was so inspired that for the first time ever he purchased a used piece of clothing. He visited the Buffalo Exchange (www.buffaloexchange.com) used clothing store during the lunch break of our last class meeting and found a beautiful blue Patagonia vest, which originally retails for over $100 dollars. He was able to purchase it for $22 and was happy to model it in the below photo.

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Written by Professor Shireen Musa,

Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York

 

 

Illuminated Fluidity

 

Illuminated Fluidity

On April 12, 2011, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) opened the flood gates of sustainability during its 5th Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference.  Motivated by last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, this year’s theme was “The Liquid Planet” (www.fitnyc.edu/sustainability) and focused on water as one of our most precious resources.  Guest speakers including academics, biomimicry experts, scientists, CEOs, photographers, and explorers ushered in tides of inspiration, enthusiasm and knowledge.

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Rise and Shine

Attendees awakened to the “Local Water Issues” morning panel as Kevin McAllister, Peconic Baykeeper, led the discussion and introduced guests to “nutrient pollution.”  Although the term at first sounds like an oxymoron, he went on to describe that it’s in fact “a plague to our waters” (http://peconicbaykeeper.org).  This type of pollution occurs when too many plant nutrients, such as phosphates from manufactured products, i.e. fertilizers, detergents, etc., enter the waters and cause an over production of algae, leading to the loss of seagrass beds and other forms of life.  Kevin provided the audience with further insight and a plea, akin to his comments from a recent press release: “Nutrient pollution from the tens of thousands of cesspools in our region is a monumental threat to our waters, yet it has been largely ignored.  Suffolk County regulations limiting the amount of nitrogen from onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) that enters our groundwater to protect drinking water are clearly inadequate in protecting surface waters.  Maintaining superior water quality should be a priority.  We must act now to save our bays.”

Sharing the story of one New York family who cannot drink or shower using their tap water, Andriene Espositio, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment discussed Hydrofracking and the consequences of gases and carcinogens entering the environment and drinking water (http://www.citizenscampaign.org).  She explained how the family uses bottled water to drink/bathe because the chemicals in their tap water caused their children to become ill and burned their skin; once a week they go to their relative’s home to take a “safe shower”.

The conversations inevitably flowed from local water issues to regional and global concerns.  Andriene talked about the importance of our Great Lakes, which contain 1/5 of the planet’s fresh water, yet society continues to dump toxic waste and other pollutants into them (http://healthylakes.org).  She also described the Vortex of plastic bags in the oceans, which are annihilating sea life.  For example, animals mistake them for food, i.e., jelly fish, and the bags either choke the animals or disrupt their digestive systems, which could lead to starvation or dehydration.  Andriene displayed photos of an animal’s carcass that washed up on shore; most of the flesh disintegrated and what was leftover was the animal’s bones and the plastic bag.  Although devoid of a heartbeat, our artificial plastic bag lives on to destroy nature again.  She urged the audience to rise up to a new way of thinking and to make wise decisions.

 

Mother Nature’s Intelligence

Look to Mother Nature as “mentor and model” was the message given by Mark Dorfman, green chemist and water expert from the Biomimicry Guild, during his “Nature’s Myriad Water-based Technologies” session.  He detailed some of nature’s creative solutions for survival, such as modifying the physical characteristics of various animals, insects and plants (www.asknature.org).  For example, beetles living in the Namibian Desert have hydrophilic bumps on their backs. The beetle sticks its back into the air and the bumps allow it to capture moisture, which then runs along its body and into its mouth.  Mark also described how the water bear organism can remain un-hydrated for decades, trees pump water upwards to survive and lotus leaves are designed so water runs off and keeps the leaf clean in order for its cells to absorb the sunlight.

 

Waves of Light

The momentum of enthusiasm and curiosity flowed like waves through the audience, generating whirlpools of conversation and interactions among attendees as they navigated around FIT’s John Reeves Great Hall, absorbing luminant exhibits that were created by our bright students, and as they attended the conference breakout sessions.   On display were garments made from organic materials, accessories made from recycled products, green architectural designs and sustainable business projects from FIT’s Schools of Art and Design and Business and Technology.  Highlights of the breakout sessions included “Our Common Water” by David Hopkins, an Environmental Coordinator from Patagonia, and a tour of FIT’s green roofs, where vegetation is thriving several stories above NYC.

 

Deep Heights

Light radiates not only from above but also from below.  During the lunch break, guests enjoyed a video of underwater sculptures, photos of which are included in this article, by Jason deCaires Taylor (http://www.underwatersculpture.com/pages/gallery/film/film.htm).  As described on his website, his “underwater sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape.  Highlighting natural ecological processes Taylor’s interventions explore the intricate relationships that exist between art and environment. His works become artificial reefs, attracting marine life, while offering the viewer privileged temporal encounters, as the shifting sand of the ocean floor, and the works change from moment to moment”.

Viewing the images, one senses the artist’s strength in projecting creativity.  He dove deep, tapped into his current, and through brave and direct expression, was able to shower the audience with inspiration.  One raindrop from a cloud of courage penetrates the cells of a petal more than all the mist from an ocean of fear.

 

Pure Intention

Joshua Onysko, founder and CEO of Pangea Organics talked about how the decisions society makes continue to compromise our water’s cleanliness in his “Purity Starts with Purpose” presentation.  He covered various data on America’s excessive water usage, the hundreds of thousands of unregulated chemicals used in consumer products, genetically modified organisms, and played 2 short videos.

The first video he presented documented Pangea Organic’s process for sourcing seaweed, an ingredient in its product line.  The company obtains its seaweed from Naturespirit Herbs, a family-owned business located in southwestern Oregon.  As the video played, it was evident that Naturespirit Herbs harvests the seaweed in a mindful manner, with great respect for the ocean’s resources.  “We harvest an average of one out of every four plants…that preserves the integrity of the ecosystem,” stated James Jungwrith (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP8DB8f2t7s).   Additionally, Joshua advised the audience that prior to harvesting the seaweed, the people at Naturespirit Herbs say a prayer and give thanks to the earth for its generosity and resources.  This reminded me of passages from a book that I just read “Deep Cinema” where the author, Mary Trainor-Brigham, references many Native American, Caribbean and Polynesian Indigenous ceremonies, among others, and the immense reverence the natives have for the environment.

Joshua presented another video of an impromptu interview with a man he met on the beach, during his seaweed sourcing trip.  The man said that his favorite thing about the beach is that “it’s where the sea meets the land….where balance happens” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPRPlai9QM0).  When Joshua asked him what is the most important thing he learned in life, the man replied realizing that we are all part of the same family and “connecting to the universe.”

 

Other Worldly Experience

Photographer, explorer and writer Anne Doubilet, of the Explorers Club, described the feelings she has, her awareness, when photographing as “other worldly experience”, during her “Pole to Pole: From the Ends of the Earth” presentation.  She dazzled the audience with scenes from The Artic, Papa New Guinea and The Antarctic and identified her amazing water images, some of which were taken during sunrise/sunset, as “molten lakes”, “fire to ice”, “wind brushed waves” and “glowing sea.”  Several times during her presentation, she expressed her special love for the Red Sea and identified it as her “favorite area.”  In one of her videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs_b7z_v1zo), Anne shares the feelings that submerged her as she walked through vast energetic crowds in NYC and sensed the similarity to swimming among teeming schools of fish near Australia; she realized “these people don’t know it but they are connected to the fish”.

 

Finite Liquid

The message that trickled down from all sessions and rippled through the audience is that in order to lead a sustainable lifestyle, society should break through the dams of complacency, become mindful of our environment and view water as a “finite rather than infinite” resource.  Surging ahead, Mary Trainor-Brigham advises society to “perceive this Earth-Water-Heavenly Planet as more than mere resource: as ensouled, and we sharing in that Life”.  Similar sentiments surfaced during the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) 2010 Forum (www.lohas.com), which I attended last summer; Dr. Elliot Dacher, MD Internal Medicine and Shaman and Healer Brant Secunda explained how a truly sustainable lifestyle must first start with a person’s internal spiritual realizations and connectivity to nature before it can be extended externally to society and the environment.  And we could use all the advice available whether it comes from an activist, artist, shaman, farmer, academic, CEO, photographer, scientist, student, writer, doctor, or from meeting a newly discovered family member on the beach.

It’s uncertain how long the planet can continue providing us with enough water needed to survive.  One thing that is certain is that our connection to water is also physically “internal.”  Water makes up over 50% of our bodies and over 70% of our brains, with waves of energy flowing through our bodies and thoughts; dive deep, embrace the light, claim your current and illuminate.

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Written by Professor Shireen Musa,

Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York

Lessons in Life: Reflections from the Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS) Conference

 

Lessons in Life: Reflections from the Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS) Conference

As faculty, staff and students from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) prepare for the college’s 5th Annual Sustainability Conference, which will take place on April 12, 2011, I cannot help but think about all the great sustainability-themed conferences that I’ve recently attended, from the American Marketing Association (AMA) Educators’ Conference in Boston to the Green Festivals in San Francisco. However, the one that particularly stood out was the LOHAS Conference in Colorado.

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Welcome to LOHAS and Boulder, Colorado

I travelled to Colorado to attend the LOHAS conference because FIT, as many other colleges and universities across the country and around the world, is infusing sustainability throughout its curriculum. The event attracted more than 500 attendees, including over 50 guest speakers, from 230 companies and organizations representing various industries, across public and private sectors. The 2010 roundup included The Coca Cola Company, General Mills, Neutrogena, eBay, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green America, movie directors/producers, academics, physicians, journalists, marketers, investors, artists and so many others, with the common goal of sharing and gaining knowledge that will inspire all to strive toward a sustainable future.

After a forty-five minute drive from Denver International Airport to Boulder, I was staring at the majestic Flatiron Mountains, which appeared to be guarding this picturesque town, and instinctively knew I was somewhere special. For example, it is home to the University of Colorado, has a large environmentally conscious orientated population and businesses, is surrounded by 36,000 acres of recreational space, has a bustling social scene, and was even rated #1 on Forbes.com for America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well.

Indigenous Insights

Typically, a New Yorker attending the usual business conference would not expect to be greeted by a Shaman banging a drum, with a rattle, while instructing the audience to close their eyes, relax their bodies and meditate over a spiritual image projected on the front screen. But this was no average business conference…this was LOHAS’ opening “Fit Body/Fit Soul” session.

Shaman and Healer Brant Secunda and Mark Allen, 6-time Ironman World Champion took us through their fascinating personal journeys and explained how a sustainable lifestyle must first start with a person’s spiritual realizations and connectivity to nature before it can be extended outward to society and the environment. Shaman Brant Secunda outlined the 4 Powers, which the Huichol Indian indigenous people of Mexico, who he lived with for many years, believe to be human capacities that all individuals should strive to achieve: love, is the first power, as a natural force ingrained in all of life; second is physical power, he stated “your body is an extension of Mother Earth”; the third power is intuition, constant development of spiritual awareness; and, intelligence is the fourth, the importance of not abusing one’s power or taking advantage of others. This brought me back to a program I recently viewed on LinkTV titled “Earth Wisdom for a World in Crisis”, which described how many, including the United Nations, are discovering that indigenous peoples could hold some vital keys to the survival of our environment: http://www.linktv.org/globalspirit/Wisdom.

Mark Allen and Shaman Brant Secunda concluded their workshop by providing techniques that transform negative emotions into positive energies to help individuals face challenges. And do we have challenges…the difficulties we are facing today, i.e., global warming, ongoing human rights abuses, corporate/political scandals, world poverty, etc. due to habits, past decisions, fear, apathy, and so on are haunting our society and will linger for future generations unless we work together to resolve them.

Work for the happiness of others and you will be happy

The stage was set for attendees to network and collaborate, during conference workshops and meals. LOHAS not only provided delicious organic breakfasts, lunches and snacks, but also served up much food for thought in the remaining 34 sessions of this 3-day event.

To give you a taste, during the “Developing a Healthy Planet: Our Health and Environmental Health are the Same” meeting, Dr. Alan Greene, Author and Physician, discussed how our act of eating is intimately linked to the environment, through the stages of food production, packaging, delivery and especially consumption, stating “Food plays our body like a piano.” Representatives from the Natural Marketing Institute reviewed global and domestic consumer trends, in the “New Paradigms in Health and Sustainability” session, advising that the US LOHAS market size represents almost $300 billion in consumer sales across the market sectors of Green Building, Personal Health, Eco-Tourism, Alternative Transportation, Natural Lifestyles and Alternative Energy. Panelists on the “Leading Edutainment” workshop reviewed the unique way of educating and successfully engaging audiences through creative storytelling documentaries, i.e., Dirt!-The Movie and the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove. There were also “Igniting Inspiration 101: An Advanced Empathy Workshop for Conscious Capitalists”, “Rewriting Rules of Consumer Engagement”, “Understanding the Carbon Economy”, “Kids vs. Global Warming”, “Understanding the Value of Social Currency” sessions and many more workshops all videotaped by LOHAS www.lohas.com.

Dr. Elliot Dacher’s echoed the advice of Shaman Secunda, when he discussed the joining of the inner (self) and outer (environment/society) as the foundation for a sustainable lifestyle, during his “The Path to Human Flourishing” session. This MD Internal Medicine summed up the overall theme of the conference, linking all sessions through a common denominator, he stated “Work for your own happiness, others suffer; work for the happiness of others and you will be happy.”

Millions of Gallons of BP Oil Pollute the Gulf of Mexico

Philippe Cousteau, CEO of EarthEcho International participated in the panel “The Situation in the Gulf” along with Stephanie Owens, director of the Office of Public Engagement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Charles Hambleton, producer for The Cove. The audience cringed as Philippe provided a first-hand account of what he experienced as he dove 20/30 feet into polluted parts of the Gulf, looked up, and saw dead fish mixed with oil in what appeared to be a reddish hue toxic soup that almost blocked out the sun.

We all have different vantage points on this disaster and other global challenges. However, society must realize that whether one resides along the Gulf of Mexico, in NYC, Boulder or any other town/city in the U.S., or across the globe, we all share responsibility in working to solve these challenges. And we could use all the advice available to become mindful about our thoughts, decisions, actions and reactions, whether it comes from a Shaman, physician, entrepreneur, academic, marketer, activist or artist.

FIT’s Liquid Planet – An Opportunity to Get Involved

Learn more about sustainability and get involved by attending FIT’s 5th Annual Sustainability Conference http://www.fitnyc.edu/8609.asp, which is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public, on April 12, 2011 in the Great Hall. Inspired by the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, this year’s theme is “The Liquid Planet,” focusing on water as one of our most precious resources.

 

Written by Professor Shireen Musa,

Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York

FIT Students journey to San Francisco to attend 2010 Fall Green Festival

 

 

FIT Students journey to San Francisco to attend 2010 Fall Green Festival

On November 4, 2010, eight students from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s International Trade and Marketing major (ITM) departed from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple and headed to the City by the Bay to attend the 2010 Fall Green Festival.

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Names on photo from left to right: Stacie Shepp (FIT Alumna), TatianaHoudgebe, Prof. Shireen Musa, Yasmin Piracha, Kayla Palmer, Arielle Childs, Brittany Vernola, Udochi Nwaigwe, Larissa Zemke, Sahar Omar

 

Equipped with curiosity and excitement, they navigated through the vibrant labyrinth of over 300 exhibitor booths and dozens of speaker sessions, uncovering knowledge and gaining motivation. One student who attended the Bio-Inspired Design: Innovations in Green Products and Business session commented: “It was amazing! I was inspired during a biomimicry session when I learned how designers, engineers and biologists were working together to find innovated design solutions from nature.”

Throughout the 2-day Green Festival, students’ taste for sustainability was tantalized as they were presented with generous samples of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, various organic skincare, and consumed organic treats, such as Alter Eco Bolivian dark chocolate, Palestinian fair trade olive oil, an assortment of cookies and crackers and Nature’s Path granola bars, just to name a few.  “They fed us well!” stated another student with a big smile.

Fueled by these sustainable calories, students enthusiastically participated in speaker Q&A sessions, such as Fair Trade Coffee Sustainability from Farm to Cup and Where are we in the Fair Trade Movement?  Here, they applied the skills they are learning in FIT’s ITM major to pose tough questions about Fair Trade verses Free Trade and sustainable supply chains.

FIT’s ITM major is a Bachelor of Science program that prepares students to become global business leaders.  Courses include Import/Export Regulations, Global Marketing, Global Sourcing, and International Corporate Responsibility, among others.  Also, in support of the “FIT Goes Green:  Infusing Sustainability into our Culture” initiative, the college will host its 5th Annual Sustainability Conference, which is free and open to the public, on April 12, 2011.  The theme of this year’s conference is “The Liquid Planet,” focusing on water as one of our most precious resources.

We spent the last day of the trip enjoying some of San Francisco’s precious resources.  Students explored the bay area.  I visited Muir Woods and was amazed by what nature creates with a single seed.  The height, presence, health and longevity of these redwoods, among the tallest trees on the planet, which have been nurtured by the earth for hundreds of years, is truly majestic.

The Green Festival was sowing the seeds of sustainability into the hearts and minds of our students and they are growing into mindful, global citizens and leaders, who will be as magnificent as the west coast redwoods.

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Written by Professor Shireen Musa,

Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York