Alta Gracia coming to the Highlander

By Ronit Zemel and Leewana thomas

There is a certain element of pride one has when sporting their college’s apparel. As someone with older siblings and cousins, I have inherited many college sweatshirts, and every time a new shirt enters my wardrobe I wonder if people are going to ask me “do you go there?” My response has always been “no” and will continue to be until I buy a Macalester sweatshirt. I have not yet purchased a Mac sweatshirt, but next semester I hope to buy a sweatshirt that I will be able to wear with the utmost pride. I chose Macalester College because of our dedication to globalism and multiculturalism, as well as our ideas of civic engagement. Paying workers a living wage, respecting the rights of employees and having a high code of labor standards all line up with Macalester’s values. These are also the values of Alta Gracia—a brand of college apparel that the Highlander will begin to sell in the Spring 2012 semester. The Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic pays its workers more than three times the minimum wage. This means the workers can buy enough food for their family, provide education and daycare for their kids, afford health care and maybe even start to climb out of debt. Thanks to the work of MPIRG’s Economic Justice taskforce here at Macalester, we will now be supporting the work of Alta Gracia and changing the lives of those who make the clothing we wear. So the next time you are thinking of buying some Macalester clothing for your younger siblings, consider if they will wear the apparel proudly. I know that when I wear clothes that are benefitting a socially minded business model, and helping workers to find a pathway out of poverty and live a prosperous life, I feel pretty proud. Look for Alta Gracia apparel beginning in January. For more information about Alta Gracia, check out