Tie-dye event educates on fair trade

Hippies for Hope and Geneseo Late Knight hosted a tie-dying event to promote fair trade practices. Profits from the event were donated to local children’s hospitals. (Ash Dean/Staff Photographer)

Students filled the MacVittie College Union on the evening of Friday Feb. 3 for Hippies for Hope and Geneseo Late Knight’s “Tying It All Together” event. 

Hippies for Hope is a charitable organization on campus that works to further the education of students in El Castillo, Nicaragua through creating and selling homemade tie-dye shirts. All profits from the shirt sales—in addition to any of the leftover shirts that weren’t sold—are donated to local children’s hospitals like Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. 

The event was held to spread awareness about fair trade and to show Geneseo students the type of work Hippies for Hope accomplishes. As the students arrived, upbeat music played; all the while, bright colors spread across the room, creating a relaxing atmosphere for all attendees. 

The first 100 students received a free pillowcase that they could tie-dye during the event. Other students brought their own articles of clothing to tie-dye like socks and shirts. Although Hippies for Hope usually donates the tie-dyed shirts at their normal meetings, the students kept their creations from this special event.

First, there was a table where attendees tied rubber bands around their pillowcases and shirts to create a variety of different patterns including the spiral and twist techniques. Then, students soaked their shirts in a variety of vibrantly colored dyes, including green, blue and purple. 

Geneseo Late Knight employee and international relations major junior Uma Natarajan spoke about fair trade practices.

“Fair trade is when workers work under good working conditions and are paid well for the labor they do,” Natarajan said. “Laborers that farm crops are often not paid well. The food being served tonight is fair trade.” 

Students enjoyed a fresh, colorful fruit salad, consisting of melons with strawberry yogurt, bananas and refreshments.

Geneseo Late Knight staff members encouraged students to tweet pictures of their tie-dye creations. The students who tweeted the best creations received a variety of prizes from GLK.

Vice president of Hippies for Hope and biology and adolescent education double major senior Megan Farrell commented on the overall success of the night.

“We had fun tie dying with the campus community while making fun memories,” she said. “Hippies for Hope works for a great cause, and hopefully this event piqued people’s interest in joining the club.”

Overall, the event was an evening full of creativity and fun for all students involved. Everyone enjoyed treats made through ethical practices as well as their tie-dyed apparel, all the while learning exactly what Hippies for Hope does for the local and global community.

“It’s really cool how Geneseo Late Knight offers free events to students while at the same time spreading awareness about the need of fair trade in modern society,” English and geography double major freshman Christina Morrow said.