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Students Apply Lessons by Organizing Fair-Trade Sale on Campus

Students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in applied human services at Pennsylvania College of Technology will try to help effect positive change for working poor around the world by hosting a sale of fair-trade handmade crafts on campus Nov. 15-16.

The students have organized a Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale, which will include such handmade goods as jewelry, ornaments and home décor from around the world. The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, in the Bush Campus Center lobby.

Ten Thousand Villages one of the world’s oldest fair-trade organizations works with more than 100 artisan groups in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fair trade enables the artisans to earn a fair wage and provides the opportunity for a better quality of life.

The students are enrolled in a course called “Community and Organizational Change,” which helps them develop the skills to recognize existing and emergent human needs and to plan successful community and organizational responses to those needs. Class members Megan E. Yaple and Anthony M. Rudinski, both of Williamsport, who are among four students coordinating publicity for the sale, said working with Ten Thousand Villages helps them to see the positive impact one person can have on the community at large.

While Yaple said volunteering for just one day for the organization seemed insignificant at first, the class learned that the proceeds they will help generate for the artisans many who may make only $30-$40 a month “would give them income for a month.”

“These people get by on very little, and things like school are a luxury in many of these places. As a result of participating in this trade, families can afford to educate their children,” she said.

In addition to hosting the sale, the class traveled to Akron in Lancaster County, where they spent a day volunteering in a Ten Thousand Villages warehouse and visiting one of the organization’s stores. The students explained that the company’s warehouses and stores are staffed mainly by volunteers so that more proceeds can be returned to the crafters.

Fifteen students are enrolled in the course and have developed committees to organize a variety of tasks in preparation for the event. They will also volunteer their time to staff the sale. The class is taught by LaRue R. Reese, assistant professor of human services/sociology.

For more information about human services majors and other academic programs offered by the School of Integrated Studies at Penn College, visit online or call (570) 327-4521. For more information about Penn College, visit on the Web. e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.

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