Polina Khoroshevskaya of McPherson College was inspired by an environmental science class to make a global issue relatable to other students and the campus community. She recently co-hosted a global coffee tasting event with the McPherson College International Student Association (ISA) to raise awareness about the global impact of coffee production and to raise funds for both local and global charities.
“I’ve wanted to help others since I was a child,” Khoroshevskaya explained. “My environmental science class opened my eyes to the global coffee production and trade issues.”
Khoroshevskaya, a senior majoring in business administration: finance and accounting, was surprised to learn that, despite coffee’s position as the world’s second most traded commodity after oil, the majority of its producers struggle to make ends meet, and farming practises implemented to meet demand are destroying critical ecosystems.
“I’m a huge coffee drinker,” she explained. “As a result, I began collaborating with my professor (Dustin Wilgers) on an idea for a campus-wide international coffee tasting event that would engage our students and the surrounding community.”
She is the president of the McPherson College ISA and felt that hosting the event through the organisation and its members would be a good fit. Additionally, she and the members emphasised the importance of purchasing coffee directly from farmers or organisations that provide the highest percentage of profits to farmers.
“It was critical for us to work with reputable companies that support coffee growers and the way coffee is produced,” Khoroshevskaya explained. “We conducted extensive research to determine the best locations to purchase the coffee we served.”
Ethiopian, Mexican, Columbian, Ecuadorian, and Congolese coffees, as well as South African tea, were served. Members of the ISA were also on hand to share their thoughts on the coffee and discuss their home countries.
“Polina is the ideal McPherson College student,” associate professor of biology Dustin Wilgers said. “Her leadership abilities were evident as she organised and developed the event entirely on her own. It was enjoyable to see a student become sufficiently inspired by a classroom activity to share the ideas with others on campus.”
ISA hopes to host another similar event before the semester ends and to donate funds to Kiva, a small organisation that enables individuals to make microloans to entrepreneurs in other countries in order to assist them in growing their businesses and obtaining the funds they require. Members are also considering donating to several local charities.