For over a year, students at the university level have been the leading voice in the movement for conflict-free products. Since Stanford University passed a proxy voting resolution in spring of 2010, four other universities, the most recent being the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College, have issued statements calling on electronics companies to clean up their supply chains, and over 50 schools across the nation are participating in the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. Now high school students have joined the movement, using their power as individual consumers and collective communities to change the demand for conflict-free products and change the equation for peace in Congo.
Yesterday, the Westerville City School District in Ohio, one of the largest districts in the state, published a statement on their website that encourages electronics companies to exercise due diligence and remove conflict minerals from their supply chains. The passage of this statement from a school district that includes three high schools, four middle schools, and 16 elementary schools, represents the enormous strides that the conflict-free movement has taken in the past six months as universities, cities, states, and now high-schools have spoken out on the issue of conflict minerals that are sourced in eastern Congo and directly contribute to the prolonged conflict in the region.
Westerville City School District’s statement helps raise awareness about the crisis in the Congo, the deadliest war since WWII, while also recognizing the responsibility we have as consumers. In the case of high schools and universities, major contract holders with electronics companies, the statement sends an important message to electronics companies and decision makers that the students, administrators, and members of the Westerville City community want electronic companies to take all necessary steps to ensure that conflict minerals from eastern Congo do not make it into their products.
Superintendent of the Westerville City School District Doctor J. Daniel Good sums it up nicely: “We're an academic institution, and oftentimes the education we strive to provide extends beyond the students in our classrooms. A web page statement regarding conflict minerals is just one way we can think globally, act locally and help raise awareness for this important matter."
Are you interested in making your university or high school conflict-free? Contact Alex Hellmuth at [email protected] or visit the Raise Hope for Congo website to learn more about the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.
Photo: Westerville City Schools seal