|Submission Date||July 25, 2014|
EN-9: Community Partnerships
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
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:
•Volunteer Emory (VE) offers students the chance to engage in the community through weekly service trips, alternative breaks, large scale special events, and social justice dialogues. VE’s mission is to collaborate with agents of change for service projects and social justice work that promote learning about self and society. Community partners for weekly service trips have included: Gaia Gardens, Refugee Family Services, Medshare, Clarkston Community Food Pantry, Trees Atlanta, and Global Growers.
• re:loom: One of Emory’s newest partnerships is with re:loom, a program of the Atlanta Initiatives for Affordable Housing. Emory “upcycles” its old uniforms and other textiles, by donating them to re: loom which decreases landfill waste and helps Emory works towards its waste diversion goals. re:loom employs and empowers homeless and low-income individuals to weave old textiles into products like purses, hammocks, and rugs. It also serves as a source for vocational training and health-care benefits for its workers, many of whom are women who have not had the education, training, or stable domestic situation to acquire or maintain employment. Several Emory student groups have volunteered at re:loom’s weavehouse. This partnership was the winner of the Community Strong category in the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s E3 Awards.
• Rollinsteers: The Rollins School of Public Health fosters community partnerships through its “Rollins-teer” service learning program. Since 2007, each year 500+ student volunteers work with at least 25 local charities and organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Atlanta Union Mission, and West Oakland Community Park. Students are divided into project teams lead by a 2nd year student or faculty member to promote interaction between members of different parts of the institution. This program simultaneously strengthens Emory’s relationship with volunteer organizations, promotes public health, and is a valuable service-learning opportunity for students and faculty.
•The Center for Ethics’ Ethics and Service Leadership (EASL) Program sponsors the Servant Leadership Summer internship program, a funded summer internship program that places qualified Emory University students in Atlanta-area nonprofits, government agencies, and socially responsible businesses. EASL internship opportunities include CARE, Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Eco-Action, East Lake Foundation, Greening Youth Foundation, Livable Communities Coalition, Trees Atlanta, and the Urban League. The Servant Leadership Summer Internship Program is designed to enrich students’ lives and integrate the practical, intellectual, and spiritual components of work, while deepening understandings of responsibility, service, and vocation. The initiative includes eight weeks of on-site work, weekly group meetings, readings, and portfolio projects.
• The Scholarship and Service (SAS) summer program offers Emory Scholars an opportunity to work as an intern over the summer in an Atlanta non-profit organization. In addition to study discussion sessions, Scholars have opportunities for personal reflection and mentoring. A Theory Practice Learning program, SAS helps expand the scholar's knowledge about Atlanta, their particular service setting, themselves, and others, as they discover how they best learn and serve as part of a community. Internships placements have included Sustainable Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the International Rescue Committee, and Global Growers.
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):
• Emory-Grady Urban Health Initiative
The Emory-Grady Urban Health Initiative began in 2011 through the efforts of William Sexson, MD of the Emory University School of Medicine and Carlos Del Rio, MD of the Emory University School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. In recognition of the substantial health challenges and disparities experienced by local urban residents and the incredible health sciences resources present in Atlanta, the Urban Health Initiative was developed to be a unique hub for interdisciplinary and academic-community partnerships around significant urban health issues. The Urban Health Initiative continues to grow and evolve in response to community and academic partners. As the landscape changes, the Urban Health Initiative is committed to changing, learning, and strengthening right along with it. The mission of the Urban Health Initiative is to improve the health of and decrease disparities among diverse and underserved populations in Atlanta. The organization forges vital university and community partnerships in health care, education, and community planning, with all partners working to change the trajectory of health for the children, youth, and families of metropolitan Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Their community partners include the Center for Black Women’s Wellness, HEALing Community Center, RING, Super Giant Foods, Grady Memorial Hospital, Families First, Atlanta Local Food Initiative, and Charitable Connections.
One of the major projects of the Urban Health Initiative is the Super Giant Community Garden, located in the Bankhead area of Atlanta. The mission of the Super Giant Community Garden is to work with the community to create happier & healthier individuals through educational gardening. The vision is to nourish this Northwest Atlanta (zip code 30318), a very low resourced area into a flourishing community. As the first community garden in the nation to be located in the parking lot of a grocery store of a low-income neighborhood, the Super Giant Community Garden addresses the pressing environmental health issue of healthy food access in Northwest Atlanta. The Urban Health Initiative received a Coca Cola Foundation start-up SPAN grant and, with the community, built the garden in winter 2014. This project is part of a larger Healthy Hub plan that includes renovations to the existing grocery store, the teaching garden, a teaching kitchen, a HEALing Community Center point of service, a laundromat, and store staff trained as lay health educators. We have just celebrated our first harvest, whose fruits were enjoyed by community gardeners, grocery store staff, and students. Future garden harvests will be split into thirds among the community members, the grocery store, and sold locally to restaurants. All proceeds will be reinvested in the garden. If you would like more information on the Super Giant Community Garden, please visit http://supergiantgarden.wix.com/emoryuhi.
Another major project of the Urban Health Initiative is the Community Supplemental Transportation Initiative, which includes the Transportation Ministry and the Labor Limo. The vision of the Community Supplemental Transportation Initiative is to provide targeted low-income residents in Atlanta with reliable access to needed services that are social determinants of health. The Transportation Ministry addresses the lack of reliable transportation options for low-income residents in the Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) V and L in metropolitan Atlanta. The focus of this project is transporting community members without access to transportation to needed services, such as the laundromat, grocery store, and medical, dental, and federal social service offices. On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, the Transportation Ministry had its first ride for the residents of Rolling Bends, a Section 8 housing complex in Northwest Atlanta, provided by a grant from the Trinity Presbyterian Church.
The Community Supplemental Transportation Initiative was developed as a result of conversations with women at the Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative, who had delivered pre-term, low birthweight babies. We learned low resourced women call 911 when they go into labor. The team learned this results in a $2000 Medicaid bill, with $300 reimbursed. We are developing a less costly Labor Limo for targeted women in early, healthy labor. Both The Labor Limo and the Community Supplemental Transportation Initiative Transportation Ministry have received funding from the Emory Office of Sustainability.
• Atlanta Lettuce Project (ALP): ALP will be a sustainable grassroots enterprise that utilizes a business model created to transform impoverished communities while meeting the needs of Atlanta’s anchor institutions, including Emory University. ALP employees will grow lettuce through hydroponic methods to control for climate, optimize yield, save water, and control pests without pesticide use. ALP will be a cooperative that is owned by its employees, who will mainly be residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Each of the forty employees will receive a living wage, benefits and have profit-sharing rights to the enterprise. Emory’s Social Enterprise Center in the Goizueta Business School has worked closely with this project to ensure that the business model for this enterprise will produce positive results for all stakeholders. The goal is for ALP’s production to be scaled up over the course of three years and ultimately supply around 3.6 million pounds of lettuce a year to anchor institutions and eventually individual consumers. In order for this enterprise to launch, though, ALP needed committed consumers, and Emory University, along with other anchor institutions, has affirmed its future purchase of lettuce from this local source. Emory has a goal of 75% of food served in its hospitals and cafeterias being sourced locally and/or sustainably by 2015. This commitment to purchasing lettuce from ALP is an important step towards reaching this goal, and also is a significant source of economic development for one of Atlanta’s resource-poor neighborhoods. Citywide, ALP also offers an opportunity to reduce the shipments of lettuce from California and Arizona that currently provide over 90% of Atlanta’s lettuce, which will reduce environmental impacts and improve product quality.
•Turner Environmental Law Clinic: Emory’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic at the Emory University School of Law provides free legal assistance to individuals, community groups, and nonprofit organizations that seek to protect and restore the natural environment for the benefit of the public, while training law students to be effective environmental attorneys with high ethical standards and a sensitivity to the natural environment. Some of the Turner Clinic’s partners and clients include: Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Center for a Sustainable Coast, Friends of the Earth, Georgia Organics, GreenLaw, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Resources Defense Council, Savannah Riverkeeper, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
• Medshare: Since 1998, Emory has partnered with Medshare, a nonprofit based in Decatur, Georgia. Medshare collects unused and sterile medical equipment and supplies from several Emory Healthcare locations and sends the materials to over 72 developing countries worldwide. Free clinics and nonprofit organizations within the United States are eligible to receive these supplies as well. This initiative simultaneously supports social health and wellbeing, and diverts waste from landfills. A variety of Emory student groups and programs, including Volunteer Emory and Rollinsteers, volunteer on a regular basis at Medshare in addition to regular Emory Healthcare staff and physician volunteer groups.
•Farmworker Family Health Program: The School of Nursing maintains a summer clinic for migrant farm workers in southern Georgia, which provides basic healthcare to under-served populations. This program is a two week intensive immersion learning experience, where faculty and students relocate from an urban to a rural community to provide health care to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families. Episodic care of farmworkers may be the only health care they receive during the year and during these clinics, children receive physicals necessary to enter the school system. Students face real-world health care challenges such as working with interpreters and medical supply shortages and interdisciplinary collaboration enables all students to appreciate the contribution of other health professionals to the well-being of the person.
•Community Building and Social Change Fellowship: Emory’s Community Building and Social Change (CBSC) fellowship was founded in 2001. This year-long program introduces a select group of Emory undergraduates to the challenges of building community in contemporary urban America. Each CBSC fellow works in collaboration with community leaders and teachers and focuses their research and service on challenges related to health, housing/community development, the environment, or social policy. Examples of successful initiatives by CBSC fellows include expanding community and school gardens in the Edgewood neighborhood, working to reduce crime in refugee communities, and organizing community efforts to create green wealth opportunities in Atlanta neighborhoods.
•Project SHINE (Students Helping In Naturalization and English) Emory is a community-engaged learning initiative administered by the university’s Center for Community Partnerships. SHINE provides Emory students with learning opportunities through civic engagement with the metro Atlanta area’s rapidly growing immigrant and refugee population – new Americans learning English, studying to become U.S. citizens, or enrolled in school. Students serve as tutors or teacher's assistants in English as a Second Language classes, citizenship preparation classes, or after-school programs. Project SHINE maintains partnerships with 10 metro-area organizations that conduct classes and host tutoring sessions, including community centers, primary schools, and technical colleges. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 Project SHINE volunteers have assisted thousands of immigrants and refugees in metro Atlanta. Since 2009, 10 Emory faculty members have partnered with Project SHINE to include an engaged-learning experience featuring SHINE into their courses. Established in 2004 as the local affiliate of the nationwide organization, Project SHINE Emory addresses a growing social need to assist new Americans with English language skills, earning citizenship, and furthering their education.
•Catalyzing Social Impacts course: MBA and BBA students at Goizueta Business School gain experience analyzing and then developing solutions to the complex challenges currently faced by organizations, including Truly Living Well, Better World Books, and the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, that strive to generate meaningful social impacts. The class enables the university to engage with and support community partners. Each organization receives at least 280-420 business consulting hours during the semester.
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:
Established with a $1 million gift from Emory alumnus and trustee Rick Rieder 83B, Graduation Generation involves more than a dozen community organizations, government agencies and philanthropic entities in collaboration with Emory University, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and Communities in Schools of Atlanta (CIS). Together these partners are developing a comprehensive set of linked programs and activities to address issues and opportunities for excellence throughout the Maynard H. Jackson High School cluster, including its middle and elementary schools, and the East Atlanta neighborhoods they serve: Edgewood, Reynoldstown, Kirkwood, and East Lake.
Graduation Generation aims to increase the academic success rates of K-12 students and the rates at which students successfully transition to and complete high school. But, students need more than a high school diploma; they also need the knowledge and skills necessary for college and/or career – and for life. Recognizing that helping students prepare for success in life demands attention to the whole child, Graduation Generation is a cross-sector, multifaceted initiative that focuses on what happens in school and in the community. The program recognizes that a range of factors impact a child's well-being and academic achievement – factors such as housing quality and affordability, safety and crime, availability of affordable and nutritious food, environment toxins and access to health care, and participation in physical activities.
With an initial focus on Sammye E. Coan Middle School in East Atlanta, Graduation Generation has already seen academic performance improve substantially in most subjects. Based on CRCT scores, improvements include: 9% in 6th grade math; 6% in 6th grade social studies; 12% in 7th grade science; 9% in 7th grade social studies; 14% in 8th grade language arts; and 23% in 8th grade science.
Absenteeism decreased by 17% and disciplinary referrals declined by 10%. Previously waning enrollment increased by 16%, from 275 to 320, during academic years 2011 and 2012. Historically low parent involvement doubled, thanks to community outreach that listened to concerns and responded with new programs that emphasize mentoring, encourage healthy lifestyles, and provide emergency aid.
More than 200 Emory people – including five faculty members, 40 staff members, and 150 students – worked with more than 500 public school students. Emory professors contributed more than 300 hours to design and implement three new courses. Graduate students from Emory’s Center for Science Education spent 1,800 hours with high school teachers to incorporate problem-based learning into one-third of middle school classes. University students tutored 200 middle school students to reinforce learning and prepare for adequate yearly progress (AYP) testing, and tutored more than 300 elementary and middle students in reading. Emory students and staff worked with more than 60 elementary students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) club activities and with 20 high school students to teach Kingian Nonviolence Principles.
Among many projects supported by Graduation Generation, the Edible School Garden was among the first programs that promoted engagement and academic growth for Coan Middle School students. They and other students in the cluster of schools continue to enjoy opportunities to engage in experiential learning by planting, growing, and harvesting crops, such as sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and kale and using recipes to create meals from their yield. Students have made massaged kale salad and sweet potato pies, among other dishes. They completed a lesson on plant reproduction, including the role of honeybees in the pollination process. They researched problems related to the massive honeybee deaths that have swept the country and greatly affected pollination of large-scale vegetable and fruit production. Students also learned the parts of the flower and found out how to determine if a vegetable plant reproduced by cross-pollination or self-pollination. As part of this investigation, students dissected a flower.
A significant component of the Edible School Yard program was a garden class that engaged teachers across grade levels in math and science. For example, an Emory student worked closely with a 7th grade science teacher to plan a number of lessons, including one that allowed students to plant, harvest, and measure several varieties of carrots grown under differing sun exposure conditions. This early phase of Graduation Generation was supported through a federal Learn & Serve grant.
The early governance structure for Graduation Generation emerged from multiple stakeholder meetings that included community members, non-profit organizations, funding organizations, the Atlanta Public Schools, Communities In Schools of Atlanta, and Emory University representatives. Initially, the governance structure included an advisory committee and an executive committee designed to guide the activities of the collaborative. After significant changes with Atlanta Public Schools, there was general agreement to move the guidance of Graduation Generation to a Partnership Advisory Committee presided by the director of the East Region of Atlanta Public Schools, who is responsible for the Maynard Jackson High School cluster. This new structure continues to include multiple stakeholders, while parent engagement strategies at each school have become the most effective point of contact for engaging community members.
A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:
Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council: Emory is a founding member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC). SPLC is a non‐profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership that accelerates the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future. SPLC oversees a number of programmatic activities, including membership, tool development, professional development, convenings, awards, and a leadership recognition program.
The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:
Additional websites with information about community partnerships:
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.