Purchasing Policy

Emphasis on Local, Environmentally Committed, & Minority-Owned Vendors


Middlebury College has traditionally emphasized placing College business with local firms. Reflecting the College's institutional commitment to comprehensive environmental stewardship, Middlebury similarly emphasizes sourcing from firms whose services and products:

(1) further Middlebury's stewardship goals

(2) Demonstrate superior long term sustainability, energy efficiency, and pollution minimization in product production and usage life cycles.

In addition, Middlebury has an articulated commitment to institutional diversity across lines of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation. The College therefore encourages the placing of its business with firms and individuals representative, especially in terms of ownership or management, of these goals of institutional diversity.

Policy Rationale:

Local Vendors - Preferential use of local vendors recognizes the fundamental interdependence between the College and the larger Middlebury and Vermont communities as a whole. The potential advantages of local suppliers in terms of service, delivery and dedication are clear. These advantages, however, must be weighed carefully against regional and national vendors' potential pricing advantages and supply source diversification. The overall balance between these variables (and others) should be considered in a context of long term impact and advantage to the College.

Environmentally Committed Suppliers - The College's institutional commitment to environmental stewardship as a core value of the institution and dictates a high sensitivity to like commitment on the part of vendors selected to supply the College and to the products and services they offer.

Minority-Owned Vendors - Where possible, given the nature of the College's rural location, Middlebury's commitment to institutional diversity should be reflected in the placing of College business so as to encourage the entrepreneurial efforts of minorities within Vermont specifically, and the region and nation more generally.

Requirements: Preferential sourcing from local suppliers for College needs should be driven by more than geographic proximity. Where local vendors are unable to offer superior pricing to college departments, local vendors should offer qualitative factors - product quality, delivery, service, after-sale support, and terms - that comprise a package which gives them equal or superior overall competitiveness with large chain and industrial vendors.

College business, moreover, should be viewed by local vendors as something to be earned and not an entitlement. Personnel making purchasing decisions for the College should monitor local vendor relationships closely to assure that preferential, long-term relationships remain demonstrably competitive.

With respect to purchasing decisions where heavy emphasis is given to environmental impact factors over pure pricing, departments and individuals need to also keep in view their fiscal stewardship obligations to parents, alumni, and donors in making the Middlebury educational experience accessible and affordable.

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest

531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753