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"We always see this planet as belonging to God — I think it belongs to us. We probably stole it from God. But you can try and give bits of it back." — Bono

MU students launch Edun Live

Journal News
OXFORD - The Center for Social Entrepreneurship in the Farmer School of Business at Miami University will launch Edun Live on Campus, a new student-run business, on Tuesday.

The effort will create partnerships between the socially conscious clothing brand, Edun Live, and other colleges throughout the country interested in selling the Edun Live label to help drive trade with Africa.

Developed this fall and run by Miami students as a pilot program, the initiative was created as a way for students to learn about sustainable development in a real world context by supplying and promoting Edun Live on Campus T-shirts.

The partnership between Edun Live and Miami also will serve as a prototype business model for other universities wishing to launch similar Edun Live on Campus initiatives.

Edun Live is a sub-brand of Edun Apparel Ltd, the socially conscious clothing label founded in 2005 by U2 singer Bono, his wife, Ali Hewson, and clothing designer Rogan Gregory, a 1995 Miami graduate. EDUN's mission is to increase trade and create sustainable employment for developing areas of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

Edun Live manufactures 100 percent African T-shirts from "grower-to-sewer" in the sub-Saharan nations of Lesotho, Uganda and Kenya, to name a few, and sells them blank for merchandising purposes. The goal of Edun Live is to increase employment opportunities in these regions through high volume sales of its T-shirts.

"Edun Live had been looking for a solution to sell high volumes of T-shirts in the college market," said EDUN CEO Christian Kemp-Griffin. "When the Farmer School's Center for Social Entrepreneurship approached me, one thing led to the next and an innovative idea emerged."

Edun founder Hewson added that she was excited to work with Miami as a launching pad for future college partnerships, and pleased to see "college students taking such an active role in the development of socially conscious business models."

According to Brett Smith, an assistant professor with the Center for Social Entrepreneurship who initiated the Edun Live on Campus program, social entrepreneurship and social consciousness are dramatically increasing.

"Response to the Edun Live on Campus project has been dramatic," Smith said. "To date, we've sold more than 1,500 customized T-shirts to student organizations and businesses. Several hundred of them were imprinted with the slogan 'I know who made my T-shirt. Do you?' to promote the initiative on campus. We expect those numbers to grow significantly as word gets out to students, businesses and other campuses about what we're doing and why."

"The Edun Live on Campus initiative is a great example of the real, hands-on experiential learning opportunities we offer," said Dean Roger L. Jenkins. "The Farmer School is committed to providing an MBA-like education to our undergraduates."

© Journal News, 2007.