Faculty Mentor(s)

Professors Amy Otis-De Grau and Yolanda Vega

Document Type


Event Date



Many people around the world work eighteen hours a day with no air conditioning and no bathroom breaks only to receive less than minimum wage. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this would be defined as a sweatshop because it violates two or more labor laws. Due to the fact that sweatshops pay more than other businesses in the community, it is unrealistic to request the eradication of these sweatshops however a transformation is necessary. One of the major reasons that sweatshops still exist today is that our society places such a high value on consumerism. Since it appears that most individuals are unwilling to stop buying their favorite brands, we decided to survey Hope College students for their thoughts. Would they be willing to pay extra for products from their favorite brands if that ensured workers would receive wages on which they could survive? The overall response was yes; 80% said that they would be willing. Therefore, the ideal way to confront this problem would be to simply remove the “sweat” from the sweatshops by spreading awareness about the sweat and tears behind our favorite brands and striving to place a higher value on human lives than on consumerism.