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Socially Responsible Purchasing: Featured Stories From This Term

November 16, 2021

In February 2021, Drexel University reaffirmed its commitment to increasing supplier inclusion and sustainable procurement practices after a year in which both the global and local economies were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout fiscal year 2022, Accounts Payable (AP) and Procurement Services will share resources and success stories related to this initiative — from inspiring interactions with local businesses to interesting and sustainable surplus sales — to keep the momentum going and hold ourselves accountable. Below are just a few highlights from this term demonstrating the team's commitment to their goals, and to the community at large.

MED Week 2021

MED Week 2021 FlyerOn Oct. 6, Drexel participated in Philadelphia's 37th annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week. MED Week highlights minority businesses and the resources that help them grow. Throughout the week, organizations from across the region hosted virtual events focused on this year's theme, "Unmute Your Opportunities." Accounts Payable & Procurement Services invited Jesse Moore, former director of Supplier Diversity for Purdue University, to speak on the evolution of Supplier Diversity and how Minority-Owned businesses can strategically obtain access to contracting opportunity. Jesse Moore shared his 30 years of Supplier Diversity experience and best practices. Following Jesse, Evelyn Smalls, President & CEO of United Bank of Philadelphia, discussed the importance of having a relationship with banks and the benefits United Bank has for small businesses. This virtual event was fill with business owners, procurement professionals, and diversity & inclusion advocates.

Drexel Installs BioHiTech Digester

BioHiTech DigesterDrexel students committed to a sustainable campus worked with Drexel Business Services to install a BioHiTech digester in the Hans Dining Hall. This digester diverts food waste from the landfill by using enzymes to liquify food waste and sending it to Philadelphia's wastewater treatment plant where it is captured as an energy source.

Stratton Hall Community Greenhouse Now Open

The renovated greenhouse space. Photo credit: Scott Dunham.Bring your own seeds! Drexel University has updated the greenhouse located on the third floor of Stratton Hall for botanical use by the Drexel community, and any students, faculty or professional staff members can request to use this space and onsite resources to grow plants. For more information, check out the related DrexelNow feature or email

Transitioning From Supplier Diversity to Supplier Inclusion

Transitioning From Supplier Diversity to Supplier InclusionAccounts Payable and Procurement Services participated in Place-Based Justice Network's (PBJN) 2021 Summer Institute. PBJN is a learning community committed to transforming higher education through place-based community engagement. Their Summer Institute is an annual virtual experience that focuses on building practices of accountability and transforming power within higher education. As part of this event, Executive Director of Supplier Inclusion Allen Riddick hosted a brief lecture and discussion about Drexel's transition from Supplier Diversity to Supplier Inclusion. The lecture focused on the differences between both programs and the benefits when a procurement department is truly engaged. Riddick also highlighted the ways in which Procurement Services has implemented Supplier Inclusion, and how debriefing suppliers post contract awards and fostering interaction between university stakeholders and diverse local businesses creates an environment of business success. For more information about the Place-Based Justice Network, visit their page on Seattle U's website.

The Difference Between Certified & Self-Identified in Supplier Inclusion

Certifying AgenciesCertified businesses are those that have been certified as a diverse or small business by a third-party certifying agency. Certifying companies as diverse plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of Supplier Diversity & Inclusion programs, and most agencies require that a company be at least 51 percent owned by someone of their classification category to be certified as diverse. Self-identified companies are those that identify themselves as a diverse or small business but are not certified by a third-party agency. Some companies may find it difficult to receive a diversity certification, as the process can be costly and time-consuming. To accommodate for self-identified diverse businesses, Drexel does not require its diverse suppliers to be certified and will also work with non-certified suppliers to help them receive their certification. You can view a list of certification agencies and the classification that each agency works to certify via this PDF.

Aramark Supports Sustainability in Jan. 2021 Case Competition

Aramark, Drexel's on-campus dining and catering partner, has a variety of sustainability initiatives underway, including locally sourcing fresh produce and creating plant-forward menu options. One highlight from this past year: "Climate, COVID-19, and Drexel Dining," a case competition that took place in Jan. 2021. Interdisciplinary teams of Drexel undergraduate students proposed answers to the following question: "As the climate emergency accelerates, we now find ourselves grappling with COVID-19 safety measures that have suddenly increased our reliance on single-use plastics — a major driver of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In Drexel's dining services, how can we support the need for student safety while minimizing the use of plastics?" The first prize winning team (Grab & Go) proposed moving Urban Eatery, one of Aramark's dining locations, from single-use serving utensils to little or no single-use by supplying reusable totes and bamboo cutlery at the beginning of each school year. They also created an APP for students to order meals ahead of pickup times to reduce student/staff interaction times. Dining Services has requested samples and quotes for reusable bags and reusable cutlery sets, which were part of the proposal that was submitted by the winning team. Business Services and Aramark are also currently reviewing our sourcing policies, in hopes of developing more sustainable practices.