The Traveling Alta Gracia Poster

Last month, we celebrated the grand opening of the Barnes & Noble at Rutgers  University. One particularly exciting part of the day came with the signing of a giant Alta Gracia poster.  Both students and customers were invited to sign the poster and include their words of thanks and encouragement.

“Thank You!” and “I Support a Living Wage!” were among the sentiments scattered across the page. We could not have been more excited upon finding out that the poster has finally made its way to the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic.

Alta Gracia's Josefina, Yenny, Ricardo, Santa, Pablo, and Yolanda holding up the framed poster!

To find out more about Alta Gracia apparel and how it helps #ChangeLives, read the full article here. Viva Alta Gracia!

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Falling in Love with Alta Gracia

When she was given the chance to visit Villa Alta Gracia and meet the employees in person, Stephanie Rendon knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. With a worker named Ana Maria as her trusty guide, she ventured around the town to visit the workers’ homes. Each encounter helped her understand how Alta Gracia really helps change lives.

 

She met Lucrecia, a mother of three, Maribel, a working mother and nursing student, and Ana Maria, an excellent tour guide and loving mother. Each of their stories were inspiring in their own way and all three were clear examples of how Alta Gracia has been a positive force in the area.

Stephanie includes that the trip was an eye-opener and that hearing the stories of the workers really makes an Alta Gracia purchase worth it. Read the rest of Stephanie’s story here to find out how Alta Gracia can change your life.

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Alta Gracia Worker Spotlight: Yenny Perez

Alta Gracia isn’t just collegiate clothing, but a pathway out of poverty.  Alta Gracia, located in the Dominican Republic, focuses on one main goal: paying their employees a living wage. This means that all workers will have enough to provide for their families — food, clean water, clothing, shelter, transportation, child and health care, and education. When you make an Alta Gracia purchase at your campus bookstore, you’re helping #ChangeLives, one t-shirt at a time.  One woman changed by Alta Gracia is Yenny Perez.  Here is her story.

Yenny's flier featuring her children.

Yenny Perez is an inspiring woman and the Secretary of Finances of Alta Gracia’s union. She grew up in a small, rural village but left at a young age in order to find a job in the capital, Santo Domingo. She was successful at finding work, but her small income impeded her schooling. When she had her first child, she stopped attending entirely.

Determined to provide for her children, Yenny took a job at a local garment factory. Despite being respected as an exemplary employee, she noticed the sore mistreatment of her fellow workers. Long hours, no employee rights, and low wages were common. Yenny declined a job as a supervisor because she could not imagine treating the workers in the same manner the other supervisors did.

When a friend approached her about joining a union to protect workers’ rights, Yenny was eager to participate and helped develop a plan of action. When the company found out, they used intimidation tactics to scare other employees out of joining the union. In order to motivate her fellow workers, Yenny designed a flier featuring her with her children. The company offered to triple her paycheck if she would retract her support, but she told them she wasn’t in it for the money, but for justice.

Now, Yenny has four children who are all attending school, thanks to her job with Alta Gracia. Motivated to continue her education, Yenny is also enrolled in secondary school and hopes to eventually make her way to law school. Once there, she plans to continue to fight for the rights of workers.

For the full article on Yenny Perez, check out Alta Gracia’s site here. Find out how you too can help #ChangeLives like Yenny.

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Alta Gracia: Apparel On a Mission

If you couldn’t tell by now, we adore school spirit clothing; t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts – you name it, we’ve probably blogged about it. So it should come as no surprise that we have found a new obsession in collegiate wear: Alta Gracia.

Owned by Knights Apparel, Alta Gracia is considered one-of-a-kind in the college apparel industry– most likely because of its kindness to others.

The products are manufactured in the Dominican Republic town of Villa Altagracia (hence the name) and according to the brand’s website, Alta Gracia employees earn more than three times what is considered standard for factory workers in the Dominican Republic. This “living wage” is to ensure employees are able to “provide adequate food, clean water, clothing, shelter, health care, child care, and education for themselves and their families,” the company states. 

The workers take pride in what they do and have high hopes for the future.  Yolanda Simon, a factory employee of Alta Gracia, says on the website, “With every purchase, you are supporting a better life for our community.”

To maintain the living wage for its workers, the company isn’t charging college students more for its products as compared to other brands (roughly $18 per t-shirt)– so they are not making much of a profit.  But, the company hopes once the college community understands their goals and mission, students will continue to choose Alta Gracia when making their purchases. 

With each t-shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie you buy, you are helping others get on a path out of poverty.  So, when shopping for the next big event on campus, look for the Alta Gracia brand and make a purchase you can feel good about.

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New Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Supports Your Campus

Following Wednesday night’s big announcement, there is no doubt Jimmy Fallon has made it big time– He has joined the ranks of just a few celebrities in having his very own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor.

With a salty, caramel swirl, chocolate-covered potato chip clusters and fair trade vanilla bean ice cream, “Late Night Snack” is the perfect salty and sweet combo to fulfill your midnight cravings.

But, besides the flavor celebrating Fallon’s 2-year anniversary with the show, an even more important message was dished by the ice cream creators– That proceeds from the sales of “Late Night Snack” will benefit Fair Trade Universities.

Campuses, which are fair trade friendly, selling fair trade foods and apparel, will receive money for their schools to continue their good work, according to the ice cream men. 

And we are thrilled to see Ben & Jerry are supporting such a great cause.  Your BNC campus bookstore also believes in selling fair trade products.  Fair trade means those working to manufacture and create goods are paid a fair wage for their labor.  From brands like Alta Gracia to School House collegiate gear, wear your school spirit on your sleeve while also making a difference in people’s lives.

So when you have the munchies or need a little pick-me-up, why  not buy a “Late Night Snack” and help your campus do good, one scoop at a time.

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