Public Affairs Journalism Major, Community Engagement and Social Media intern at Global Gifts Short North
When I first accepted my summer internship, I was not completely sure what being a Community Engagement and Social Media Intern would entail, but it quickly became clear.
Let me backtrack. I am the Community Engagement and Social Media Intern at Global Gifts in the Short North Arts District of Columbus. Global Gifts is a nonprofit fair trade organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fair trade, as defined by the Fair Trade Federation, is an approach to business and development that supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. Basically, this means artisans make goods for which they are paid fair wages and they work in healthy environments. The fair wages also allow many fair trade artisans to send their children to school, which unfortunately, is a luxury in many of these countries.
Global Gifts sells fair trade goods from countries such as Thailand, Kenya and Guatemala. Artisans from these countries use resources available to them to make beautiful products. Fair trade goods range from coffee and chocolate to blankets and dresses, and everything in between. It really is amazing what people can make.
The part I play
My goal is to tell as many people about fair trade as possible. The community engagement aspect of my internship means I look for ways to partner with the community so they become informed about fair trade. So far, I have secured a partnership between Global Gifts and the International Affairs Scholars program at Ohio State. During two events we will tell first and second year International Affairs scholars about fair trade and why it is so crucial. And just for fun, we might make fair trade chocolate covered bananas!
Global Gifts also has an existing partnership with St. Joseph Montessori elementary school. Students visit the store to learn about fair trade and make fair trade crafts. When students visited in May, they learned about fair trade in India, and did traditional Indian block printing. While the kindergarteners did have fun getting messy with paint, some were inspired by fair trade. One student even said, “I want to grow up to be a fair trade person.”
The social media aspect of my internship is a bit more straightforward; I handle the Global Gifts Twitter account. Prior to the start of my internship, the account did not have much original content (original tweets, no links to the store blog or Instagram account). However, every day I tweet, follow new accounts and like and retweet relevant content. Global Gifts is increasing its following on social media, which we hope means attracting more individuals who are passionate about fair trade.
I hope to continue finding new community partners, like local schools and businesses. Global Gifts is relatively new in the Short North of Columbus so I hope to help make its presence known.
It has been wonderful working at Global Gifts so far. I have loved getting to know the volunteers who selflessly give their time and I enjoy the creative and international atmosphere, but most importantly, it is an honor to be a cog in the fair trade wheel. Although my position feels relatively small, knowing struggling individuals, families and communities are supported by my work is truly an amazing feeling. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the summer holds!