Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.61
Liaison Jack Byrne
Submission Date May 1, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Middlebury College
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Jack Byrne
Director of Sustainability Integration
Environmental Affair
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Middlebury College contributes to the area's regional transit system to ensure the availability of alternative transportation in the area. The College also regularly collaborates with the Town of Middlebury. For example, there were two representatives from the town of Middlebury on the committee that wrote the 2008 Campus Master Plan, which has sustainability as a theme.

Additionally, there are classes at the college offered periodically that do one-month to one-semester community research projects on a range of sustainability topics. One example is a January 2013 course on conservation planning that drafted recommendations for the Town of Middlebury’s conservation plan. Second, the Environmental Studies Program received a grant from the EPA’s “Campus Environmental Stewardship” program that supported the introduction of community-connected projects in the areas of climate change and water quality to 3 courses (http://www.mainecompact.org/epa.php). These included a chemistry class working with area wastewater treatment plants, a geology class looking at records of climate change in lakes for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and a psychology class empowering staff and clientele of our local poverty relief agency to engage with efforts to address climate change. Faculty indicated willingness to maintain these community connections when they next offer these courses.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

The Environmental Studies Senior Seminar works with a community partner every semester on an environmental sustainability project. While these are semester-long projects, some have built open each other and/or we have worked with the same partner for several semesters. Past examples of these types of collaborations have been in the areas of biomass harvesting guidelines, solar energy, and transportation. All projects are inherently designed to address multiple dimensions of sustainability given the interdisciplinary nature of our program. A good example of this was a 2010 project with various state partners around naturally occurring drinking water contaminants where students contributed to the scientific, social, economic, and political aspects of the issue. The 2013-2014 seminars, in addition to work with a range of partners (faith-based environmental groups, policy makers advancing carbon pricing mechanisms, & resiliency and adaptation planners) are also engaged with storytelling as an important aspect of addressing sustainability issues.

The institution supports these partnerships through a staff position in the environmental studies program as well as through the Community Engagement Office. Campus members are engaged as mentors to the project; community members also serve as mentors and are invited to the seminar as guest experts.

For more details and to view the range of past projects, see: http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/es/work/communityconnectedlearning/envs0401

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

The environmental studies senior seminar has periodically worked with non-local partners on sustainability projects. Recent examples include a Spring 2013 seminar which was themed, “Transboundary Issues in Sustainability” and conducted projects with partners in Vermont, New York, and Canada. A Fall 2011 project worked with a local consulting company but researched the climate change vulnerability of global hydropower facilities.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

In regard to "transformative" sustainability partnerships, we recognize the opportunity for deeper community impact through developing multi-year / ongoing community partnerships that would guide the research areas of the environmental studies senior seminar and could offer additional opportunities for community connections across the curriculum. Working towards this goal is an action item in the above-mentioned EPA grant and will also be discussed as part of the April 2014 External Review of Middlebury’s Environmental Studies Program.

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