After eight months of campaigning, we are delighted to report that Kent State University has committed to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium! Our victory did not come without its challenges. For one thing, our university was affiliated with the WRC over a decade ago, but the affiliation had since lapsed behind students’ backs. Since WRC affiliation is so central to ethical production and basic knowledge about how our goods are being made, it was imperative that we convince our university to re-affiliate.
Additionally, this victory comes at a particularly critical time in for our movement as Nike continues efforts to reduce transparency by blocking WRC access to its supplier factories. Our university’s affiliation demonstrates that Nike can not stop universities from taking important action to ensure transparency and compliance in the global apparel industry. As Nike tries to hide the sweatshop conditions in its factories, a growing number of student voices are coming together to demand Nike “Just Do The Right Thing” for workers around the world. We are relieved to see our university’s affiliation as a statement of solidarity with those voices.
To celebrate the good news and to raise awareness amongst our fellow students, we brought multi-colored balloons covered with WRC mini-fliers. We then stopped at administrative offices and delivered homemade cookies with “WRC” written on them and a poem to celebrate this important move for our university. Along the way, we handed out balloons to our fellow students to explain why WRC affiliation is essential!
Our university’s demonstration of faith in the Worker Right Consortium renews our morale, and we hope it excites and encourages you, too. We continue to be educated and inspired by the efforts of our fellow USAS members. Onward and upward!
Kent State University
USAS Local #27