Established in 2016, the Supplier Diversity Program is a student-run organization that is dedicated to ensuring the equality of UW business opportunities for small, minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, and historically underutilized businesses. This includes educating the student body on the importance of Supplier Diversity and the types of businesses that are contracted by UW as suppliers of goods and services. We are planning our third Eat Local Food Fair, our largest outreach project. This will be the first Eat Local Food Fair since 2019, as 2020 and 2021 efforts had to be cancelled due to COVID (our CSF Grant for the 2020 Food Fair was approved but not paid out after we were forced to cancel the event). The Eat Local Food Fair invites local vendors from the Seattle community to campus (HUB Walkway) during May and helps them to be further exposed to UW, both students and staff. Thanks to the support of Campus Sustainability Fund, the most recent Fair saw huge success. It hosted eight catering vendors and thousands of students who visited the booths. This unique and interactive opportunity gets to the heart of what the Supplier Diversity Program works toward daily – advocacy for diverse-owned business, education of our student body, influencing sustainable decision-making by the University, and creating a more equitable community.
Our project strives to improve both social and environmental sustainability of the UW community. From the social perspective, Supplier Diversity promotes diversity, inclusivity, and equality on campus. Small businesses present new employment opportunities and spur innovations in the community. However, these historically underutilized businesses often face various challenges including lack of access to money, markets, exposure, and opportunities. Therefore, by providing a space where these local businesses can generate revenue and be exposed to a larger consumer base, we believe it will help expand the diversity of businesses being affiliated by UW and support the local economy.
On the other hand, purchasing more local food provides positive environmental benefits as well. The production of food accounts for 68 percent of greenhouse gas emission in the world, while its transportation accounts for 5 percent. Eating locally helps prevent global warming because local restaurants often use food grown closer to home which requires less fuel to transport. In addition, local farms are more likely to adopt environmentally friendly practices including using less pesticides, preserving genetic diversity, and enriching the soil with cover crops. Furthermore, to minimize the environmental externalities of the Eat Local Food Fair, we will encourage garbage classification by having different types of garbage bins and creating signages with instructions. We will make sure that participants of the Fair are environmentally conscious and educated on how to dispose of food waste correctly.
Student Leadership & Involvement
Student Leadership and Involvement is the driving force behind the Eat Local Food Fair. The Supplier Diversity Program is a student-run organization, which means that students are the ones who propose and organize projects. Currently, the program has 10 members from 7 different majors on campus. The Executive Board of the program is comprised of 4 students, who take roles of the Director of External Relations, the Director of Internal Relations, the Director of Funding, and the Director of Recruiting. The members are divided into three different committees: Brand Awareness, Education, and Community Engagement, each with a committee lead and other members. The Eat Local Food Fair is led by the head of the Community Engagement Committee and the Executive Board, who together manage the Fair logistics, funding, and vendor recruitment. The Brand Awareness committee is in charge of creating promotional materials and social media campaigns to advertise the Fair. The Education committee will be tasked to educate Fair participants on the importance of Supplier Diversity and ask them to sign the Supplier Diversity Pledge Card. In addition, we will recruit more student volunteers to promote the event, collect feedback, and aid set-up the day of the Fair. The audience of the Fair will primarily be students as well,
Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change
The Eat Local Food Fair strives to reach out to diverse groups on campus and educate them about the importance of Supplier Diversity, with the end goal of increasing diversity of the University supply chain and influencing students to make more conscious buying decisions. We have brainstormed multiple ways to improve the Fair this year to reach a wider audience and better engage the participants:
Vendor Selection Process: We would like to share this wonderful opportunity with more local businesses this year. Therefore, we developed a vendor application form that is currently being distributed with small businesses in our network and the Foster School of Business. We will prioritize vendors that have high potential and interest to be a supplier of UW.
Student Outreach: We will advertise to students heavily on social media including our Facebook and Instagram pages. We will then reach out to student organizations through the Foster School of Business and HUB. We will also design poster boards and flyers that will be placed and distributed around campus.
Staff Outreach: We are planning to invite staff from UW Procurement and other campus departments that would be interested in using catering services. We will then create a handout that lists the vendors present, their stories, and their products to share with the UW staff.
Feedback Cards: We plan to partner with Chef Tracey, the Campus Executive Chef to gauge interest in some of the most exciting and diverse-owned businesses in our community. Fair participants will be given rating cards to provide feedback on selected vendors. We will then analyze the results and assist Chef Tracey with her team's vendor selection process for UW Housing and Food Services. This would have a direct impact on diversifying the supply chain of the University.
Gallery: We believe in the power of stories. Therefore, we will design poster boards for each vendor to share their entrepreneurship path and the adversities that they overcome. In addition to trying the products, we hope UW students and staff can also be inspired by these stories and change their buying behaviors.
Supplier Diversity Pledge: The Supplier Diversity Pledge was created to gain feasible metrics that will allows us to measure the support for our program mission. This year, we will have printed pledge cards, QR codes for participants to sign online, and a signing board. The Pledge will include statistics showcasing the importance of Supplier Diversity and actions that participants can take to support the movement.
Feasibility & Accountability
Spring 2022 will serve as the third Eat Local Fair in which the Supplier Diversity Program aims to again showcase a diverse group of vendors to the campus community. We have built a solid planning and execution plan to sustain this event and for years to come. Historically the program has received guidance from advisors from CBDC, UW Athletics, Student Activities Office, Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council, and Microsoft. We are confident that with CSF’s help, we will be able to bring another successful Eat Local Food Fair to campus and support diverse-owned businesses in the community. Thank you very much for your consideration.