Volume 93, Issue 49

Thursday, November 25, 1999


Students demanding disclosure

Buy Nothing Day offers some clarity

Buy Nothing Day offers some clarity

By Clare Elias
Gazette Staff

The students of Oxford Famine, an international organization concerned with economic justice issues, will be raising awareness on campus until Saturday.

Buy Nothing Day is an organized event put on by the OXFAM student's association of Western, a division within OXFAM. "We're raising issues of over-consumerism and Buy Nothing Day is to ask the students to try and not act like a demographic," said Domenic Salotti, member of OXFAM and fourth-year political science and sociology student. "Consumerists are treating us as products and we don't have to buy into their ideas or images," he said.

There has been a mixed response over the years to this event. Salotti and third-year anthropology and English student Selena Horrell, another member of OXFAM, answered this opposition with the need to clarify. "This is a radical idea and it does draw criticism, so we need to open dialogue. Some students see it as an absurd idea, without understanding it."

Last year, Buy Nothing Day did not take place on campus due to a conflict with the vendors in the University Community Centre atrium. This year, Salloti said OXFAM avoided the issue by notifying the University Students' Council in advance to reserve the location.

OXFAM will have a kiosk at the very back of CentreSpot on Friday so not to interfere with the Imaginus poster sale. "This was a compromise," said Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues for the USC. "Last year there was miscommunication on both [OXFAM and the USC] and we can't have two different groups with different interests in the atrium. This event would contradict Imaginus and food services," he said, adding it would go against the USC's Counter Programming Policy.

Monaco said the members of OXFAM contacted the USC too late to reserve the atrium.

"I try not to buy brand name products," said Mike Williemse, a third-year honours economics student. "It's like a GAP commercial, I won't buy their products because of their ads. But then again, who are we to say to the media that they shouldn't advertise?"Williemse added there should be a law for how much companies can spend on advertisements.

Johnathan Bendiner, also a third-year honours economics student, related the issue of consumerism to Earth Day. "Everyone recycles on that one day, but if people don't do it on the other 364 days, then what's the good of it?"

Amy St. Clair, a first-year physiotherapy student, said that there may be a trend of commercial attention in the UCC. "I don't know if anyone in the UCC gets noticed unless they're a vendor and unless it's 'buy something day,' like the poster sale. It's never busy if it's about awareness and it takes more out of people's day to talk about an issue than to buy something."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999