ETL was created in 2007 by Andrea (Carrow) Morsching as her Entrepreneur Scholar venture. While on a semester abroad program in Guatemala, several Bennies and Johnnies volunteered with a local Fair Trade coffee organization. These students saw firsthand the importance, both socially and economically, of fair-trade coffee in their study abroad community. Upon returning home to their campus, a group of Bennies and Johnnies (Adam Spooner, Brain Essling, Nate Ptacek, Andrew Vavera, Fernando Galleano, Andrea (Carrow) Morsching, and David Slifka) became advocates of fair-trade coffee and began planning their return trip to Guatemala; this time with a passion and desire to spread the importance of fair-trade coffee back to their local Minnesota community. Albeit this group did not know it at the time, this pilot documentary would be foundation for the ETL venture.
After renewing connections made in Guatemala, the students set out to produce hours of footage, dozens of local interviews and endless hours of research. By spring 2008, they had produced a 22-minute documentary titled “Somos de Café” and Extending the Link was born.
Each ETL project begins in April after the previous year’s documentary premieres. The team brainstorms a new topic and location, then spends the summer researching and planning. Come fall, they are ready to begin marketing and fundraising for their upcoming production.
ETL hopes to continue to foster discussion on global issues through the creation of the annual documentaries. The documentaries are meant to ignite social change that empower students, faculty, alums and the greater community to work for improved social justice at home and abroad.