Guest Blog Post: Students Find Inspiration at Alta Gracia Factory


By Morgan Currier, a sophmore at the Univeristy of Washington

Earlier this month, I and seven other students from universities around the country visited the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic as representatives of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). Yes, this trip was as amazing as it sounds!

Here, we had the opportunity to hear about the formation of Alta Gracia from the workers themselves and how their determined union has brought the community of Villa Altagracia back to life! Though I could ramble on for hours about the things I learned and the experiences that blew my mind while on this trip, the highlight came at the end of the week. We had spent a great deal of time with the workers hearing their stories, meeting their families, and exploring the community. When it came time to visit the factory, it was as if we were just visiting our friends at work.

The excitement of this visit was only heightened by the big fans, friendly chatter, and upbeat music (which the workers pick). Walking around, I thought to myself, this is what a factory should be like. Water coolers, clean bathrooms, bright lights, and clear safety instructions on the walls.  Everyone was eager to show us what part of production they were involved in and it was clear the workers took great pride in their work. Rosa sewed on the sleeves while Yolanda did stitching on sweatshirts and they took great care in every single one they made.

Now, when I walk around my campus in my fabulous UW Alta Gracia sweatshirt, I feel so empowered knowing my friends in Villa Altagracia who made it can afford basic necessities, see a doctor when they're sick, and provide a bright future for their children.  The only way for the Alta Gracia project to survive and continue creating better lives for its factory workers is if consumers make the conscious choice to buy the apparel and if college bookstores continue to offer Alta Gracia on campus.  I hope my experience will inspire students and campuses to support Alta Gracia!

For more on Morgan’s trip to the Alta Gracia factory, read “A Sweatshirt Story” from The Daily of the University of Washington.



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