Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 77.55
Liaison Jack Byrne
Submission Date June 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Middlebury College
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 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 has an ongoing supportive sustainability partnership with the Town of Middlebury. It has a full time position in the President's office which has substantial responsibility to work with the Town for the economic, social and environmental benefit of the area. Through that position the College recently complete a long term project to help the Town build a new net-zero, LEED Gold Town office building, a new recreation center, and created a new green space/park area in the middle of town. College officials worked closely with town officers and community members to negotiate a land swap that would enable the Town to build new offices and to turn the old town office site into a new park. The College contributed $5.5 million to the $7 million project as well.

The College also partnered with the town in 2013 to fund a full time economic development position in town government to support economic development through recruitment and retention of businesses offering high-quality jobs with an emphasis on those with social and environmental mission components.

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 College has a number of formal partnerships with community organizations dealing with sustainability issues in Addison County where the college is situated and beyond. A prime example is our Privilege and Poverty program which has a curricular component focused on studying issues of inequality—its causes, its effects on human communities and the environment, and even the language with which we talk about the “privileged” and the “poor.”

The program also has summer internships based at community organizations for students to help address these issues. A national internship program is run through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), based at Washington & Lee University.

Shortly after joining the national consortium, Middlebury College started its own equivalent internship program that partners students with organizations in Addison County. For these internships the College currently has formal partnership agreements with the following community organizations for whom the summer interns work on sustainability related issues:

Charter House Coalition
Coordinate the Farm-to-Table and Community Meals programs, integrating community garden fresh produce into to meal programs, food shelves, and low-income neighborhoods (free room, most meals)

HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects)
Serve in a variety of capacities, fully immersing oneself in the day-to-day operations of connecting individuals and families to services, including staffing the front desk and working with the food shelf programs

John Graham Housing & Services
Help to provide shelter and hope to Addison County’s homeless population and working on home efficiency projects

Mary Johnson Children’s Center Rural Fun Delivery Program
Work with low-income youth in trailer parks on meal programs, summer learning, drug/alcohol prevention, & arts/life skills activities, and research Addison County poverty via interviews

Open Door Clinic
Support healthcare, public health, and access and provision of services to special populations, including Vermont migrant farm workers via Spanish translation services

Provide crisis intervention, info, and support to abused women, men, and children via 24-hour hotline, especially low-income persons in need of emergency/transitional housing

In addition it has had formal partnership with these community organizations:

Addison County Community Trust
Addison County Farm Worker Coalition
Addison County Housing Coalition
Addison County Poverty Task Force
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes
United Way of Addison County

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:
Most recently the college has has supported and joined the Town of Middlebury in a new partnership known as the Climate Economy Model Communities program to help communities build and implement plans that model state-of-the-art rural development in an age of climate change. The ultimate goal is to create “climate smart” communities throughout Vermont and brand them, leveraging rapid change by implementing comprehensive efficiencies efforts, transportation system improvements, energy generation, entrepreneurship and business incubation to spur economic progress.

The program is a partnership between the local community of Middlebury and the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD), Green Mountain Power (GMP), Vermont Electric Coop (VEC), Washington Electric Coop (WEC) and other utilities, Efficiency Vermont (EVT), and other partners to provide concentrated services to homes and businesses and project development to the community.

This partnership will run for a minimum of one year which is the period of time projected to develop recommendations for implementation as well as a plan for carrying out recommendations. This partnership It supports economic prosperity, and social equity and ecological health by transforming Middlebury into a “climate smart” community by implementing comprehensive efficiency efforts, transportation system improvements, renewable energy generation, entrepreneurship and business incubation to spur economic progress.

Middlebury serves as a member of the Steering Committee and provides the following to the project through that role: identify key themes for the community kick-off and forums,
work with the steering committee to promote and facilitate home and business
efficiency and energy transformation, attend the community forum to listen to brainstorming sessions and provide some reflection on opportunities, coordinate,
in partnership with the steering committee, all communications and outreach, work to
implement an outreach plan to encourage andfacilitate participation in the community kick-off and priority setting forum, serve as an advisor and partner on any community
initiatives where expertisecan be helpful or partnership is appropriate, participate in task forces as technical advisors and as a possible source of resources to move initiatives forward.

This process will result in recommendations for making systemic changes in the town and participating partner organizations. It is not yet clear what those changes could be as the process has just gotten underway. More specific opportunities for systemic change and institutionalization will emerge over the course of the coming year.

A list of the national partners and internships Middlebury students have work with can be found here as well:

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:
The Office of Sustainability Integration and the International Programs and Off Campus Study Department have established partnerships with in-country organizations working on sustainability issues through Middlebury's 17 schools abroad. Currently we have substantive partnerships with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Chile, the Nature Conservancy of China, and the Tottori University of Environmental Studies and the Town of Chizu in Japan. See: http://www.middlebury.edu/sustainability/academics-and-research/global-partnerships-for-sustainability

In addition, the environmental studies senior seminar has periodically worked with non-local partners on sustainability projects.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
website for Privilege and Poverty program:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.