The staffroom, and CafeN9ne (Wurundjeri Trade Training Centre) at Aquinas College in Ringwood went slavery-free in 2017. They followed these important steps:
- Michele and a team of people ran a ‘taste and see’ for staff to demonstrate that slavery-free products tasted good. Alongside the tasting was information about the ethics of going slavery-free. This awareness-raising was ongoing.
- Once teachers were ‘won over’, Michele and her team took the issue to the College executive, who agreed to go slavery-free.
- The team involved Year 11 Foundation Maths students and they did a cost comparison of current tea and coffee products and slavery-free products.
- They worked very closely with the accounts/buying staff to show how and why the transition could happen.
‘In 2015 I first started the discussion about buying slavery-free tea and coffee for our staff room. It took a couple of years and the involvement of students, but by 2017 it had happened,’ said Michele.
‘At first a few staff said that they didn’t like the choices, but I think that was more about change. Now, everyone enjoys what is provided. It’s delicious tea and coffee and there is such a wide choice now.
‘It’s more than a buying choice. Going slavery-free is a moral choice and we all need to do it.
‘If you create awareness you can win over the minds, hearts and souls.’
Michele’s tips for becoming slavery-free
- Identify a ‘champion’ in your school who can carry this through.
- Raise awareness of the importance of being slavery-free and the impact on people around the world.
- Run a slavery-free tasting in the staffroom, offering a few varieties of slavery-free tea, coffee and drinking chocolate so people can discover it tastes great.
- Engage students in the process.
- Transitioning to a slavery-free staffroom does require some changes in the accounts and buying practices of the school, so work together.
- Start now. Just do it!
Staff are currently enjoying Tradewinds products:
- Colombian Instant Coffee 800g
- Premium Bulk Teabags
- Colombian Decaffeinated Instant Coffee 200g.
Aquinas College orders from Tradewinds.
Aquinas teacher Michele Armstrong and hospitality assistant at the school’s Wurundjeri Trade Training Centre Rhonda Wheeler, enjoy a cup of slavery-free coffee.