Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.34
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Emory University
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Kelly Weisinger
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
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Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee, office, and/or officer that focuses on sustainability broadly and covers the entire institution?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the committee(s), office(s), and/or officer(s) during the previous three years:

Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives has been guided by the vision established in the Strategic Plan of creating a community where economic, social and environmental systems support a healthy, productive and meaningful life for all its residents, present and future. To this end, Emory’s initiative has sought to create a model for healthy living, locally and globally and to collaborate beyond our campus gates to provide leadership in our community, the region, and beyond.

Since the launch of our initiative, Emory has made significant progress in achieving the aggressive goals established by the Sustainability Visioning Committee in 2006. Emory expects to meet the goal of 25% energy use reduction per square foot by 2015, and expects to meet its goal to divert 65% of its waste, including 95% of construction and demolition waste, from landfills. Significant progress has also been made in the areas of ecosystem restoration, transportation, local and sustainable food procurement, sustainable building practices, awareness of sustainability practices, and integration of sustainability into the curriculum. Systems of measurement have been established to monitor our progress and encourage adaptive management.

In the past three years, significant accomplishments of the initiative include but are not limited to the following: implemented Emory’s Climate Action Plan, celebrated thirteen years of the renowned Piedmont Project, funded dozens of sustainability-related campus projects through its Sustainability Incentives Fund, expanded student engagement opportunities, rolled-out a post-consumer waste composting program, increased sustainable food education in the cafeterias, launched Green Office and Green Lab programs, conducted solar energy feasibility studies, developed waste and energy reduction programs in Emory’s healthcare facilities, enrolled Emory University Hospital Midtown in the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, implemented comprehensive energy and water reduction strategies, conducted pilots to increase Emory’s waste diversion from campus buildings, secured land and hired a farmer to develop an organic farm at Emory’s Oxford Campus, acquired a grant to hire a two-year post-doc Sustainability Distinguished Teaching Fellow specializing in sustainability-related behavior change, developed and trained Residence Hall Association Sustainability Chairs, added sustainability training components to numerous academic orientations, and more.

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

The Sustainability Advisory Council was formed as an outgrowth of the 2005 Strategic Plan, which identified sustainability as one of Emory's core principles and charged the committee with developing a vision for the responsible environmental, economic, and social future of Emory. The committee completed the Sustainability Vision in 2006 and defined specific goals and recommendations intended to stimulate the imagination and guide decision making, resource use, and future action in all parts of the university. The Vision also called for the creation of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, also created in 2006. The original Sustainability Advisory Council does not meet regularly now that the strategic vision is in implementation mode, but members remain available for consultation and participate in various other sustainability committees. As the 2005 Strategic Plan comes to a close, the Council will be revived with new and existing members to plan for the next phase of sustainability at Emory.

In Fall 2010, a Faculty Advisory Council was created to advise the Office of Sustainability on issues related to curriculum and research. This group of distinguished faculty from Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Business, Law, Nursing, and Public Health report to the Provost.

In addition to the Sustainability Advisory Council and the Faculty Advisory Council, the following sustainability-related committees also exist:

Sustainable Food Committee:
The Sustainable Food Committee was appointed by President Wagner in early 2007 to develop recommendations for meeting the food-related goals contained in the University's Sustainability Vision. Specifically, the Committee was charged with developing steps to meet Emory's goal of procuring 75 percent of ingredients in our cafeterias and hospitals from local or sustainably-grown sources by 2015. The Committee was also tasked with working with farmers and distributors to bolster regional food supplies, developing a farmers market on campus, developing guidelines for sustainable food procurement, overseeing the Educational Garden Project, and expanding awareness of sustainability issues related to food.

Sustainability Task Force for the Health Sciences:
In 2008, the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences appointed a Sustainability Task Force. This group consists of broad representation of faculty, staff, and administrators from the healthcare related parts of Emory. It has undertaken a review of activities in healthcare and has made high-level recommendations for policy and practice.

Climate Action Plan Committee:
The CAP Committee was appointed in 2010 to begin the process of education and outreach to engage the Emory community in greenhouse gas reduction and to develop a formal commitment and Plan. The committee consists of faculty, staff, and students and works closely with Campus Services.

Energy Think Tank:
Originally the Carbon Reduction Task Force, this group researches staffing and infrastructure needs related to feasibility assessment on the operations side to support the implementation of our Climate Action Plan.

Waste Think Tank:
Similar to the Energy Think Tank, this group meets quarterly to brainstorm and implement staffing and infrastructure efforts necessary to meet the University’s goal of 65% of waste diverted from the landfill.

Sustainability Representatives:
This group consists of at least one representative from each of Emory’s buildings with the goals of assisting with the development, communication and implementation of Emory’s sustainability programs to the campus community, and providing feedback to the Office of Sustainability Initiatives on these programs.

Sustainability Team:
Consisting of representatives from the key stakeholder groups and departments across campus, this team has a monthly “meeting of the minds” to share status updates, solve problems, and celebrate successes encountered during the implementation of Emory’s sustainability programs.

Green Lab Team:
This team meets monthly to develop, implement, and monitor Emory’s newly created Green Lab Program.

Green Office Team:
This team meets monthly to develop, implement, and monitor Emory’s Green Office Program, currently in development.

Committee on the Environment:
Created in 1990, the Committee on the Environment is a standing committee of the Emory University Senate. The Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, and students. The Committee works closely with Campus Services and meets monthly to review all projects undertaken by Emory that impact the environment, including new buildings, transportation initiatives, and forest management. In policy matters, COE has promoted conservation and sustainable development and facilitated Emory's eventual adoption of Green Building standards, a No Net Loss of Tree Canopy policy, a Water Conservation Policy, the Land Use plan that preserves natural areas from development, the Lullwater Management Plan, a Stormwater Management Plan, a Campus Environmental Office, and an Office of Sustainability.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Faculty Advisory Council:
Ciannat Howett, Director of Sustainability Initiatives (environmental law), co-chair
Peggy Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, Faculty Liaison to Office of Sustainability Initiatives (agrarian systems, sustainable development), co-chair
Berry Brosi, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (bee biology, ecosystem functioning and environmental change)
Bill Buzbee, Professor of Law and Director of the Emory Environmental and Natural Resources Law program (environmental and administrative law, regulatory federalism)
Bill Eley, Executive Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs, School of Medicine (medical oncology)—Deirdre Abrams, assistant.
Rick Gilkey, Professor in the Practice, Organization and Management, Goizueta School of Business, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine (strategic thinking, moral reasoning, brain imaging)
Karen Hegtvedt, Professor and Chair, Sociology (social psychology, legitimacy and justice)
Linda McCauley, Dean, School of Nursing (pesticide exposure among minority communities)— Sandra Gribkoff, assistant.
Mike McQuaide, Professor of Sociology, Oxford (healthcare systems; developing countries)
Pamela Scully, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Director, Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, and Professor, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and African Studies (gender and slave emancipation; women's rights and post-conflict societies)
Paige Tolbert, Professor and Chair, Environmental Health, School of Public Health (air pollution health effects, environmental epidemiology)
Peter Wakefield, Professor of Pedagogy, Institute for Liberal Arts, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Interdisciplinary Studies Major and Sustainability Minor (Greek philosophy, critical pedagogy)

Original Sustainability Advisory Council:
Peggy Barlett, Professor, Anthropology
Eloise Carter, Oxford, Biology
Mike Mandl, Executive Vice President
Bridget Guernsey Riordan, Dean of Student Life
Ciannat Howett, Director of Sustainability
Wayne Alexander, Chair, Medicine
John Wegner, Lecturer, Environmental Studies
Bill Eley, VP for Medical Education

Other committee members are too numerous to list here.

The website URL where information about the sustainability committee(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives was founded in September 2006, with the hiring of Ciannat Howett as Director. Emory’s Sustainability Vision calls on the Office of Sustainability to help restore our global ecosystem, foster healthy living, and reduce the University's impact on the local environment. Progress will be assessed using the environmental, economic, and social "triple bottom line" of sustainability. The Office of Sustainability Initiatives coordinates several key sustainability initiatives, including Green Building and Greenspace Protection, Energy Conservation, Recycling and Waste Minimization, Water Conservation, Sustainable Food, Commute options, and Emory as Place. The Office also supports numerous sustainability efforts of faculty, staff, and students across the University and Emory’s Healthcare system.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

The website URL where information about the sustainability office(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Ciannat Howett, J.D., Director of Sustainability. Kelly O'Day Weisinger, Sustainability Program Coordinator. Emily Cumbie-Drake, Sustainability Program Coordinator. Peggy F. Barlett, PhD, Faculty Liaison.

A brief description of each sustainability officer position:

The Director of Sustainability Initiatives has the direct responsibility for overseeing all University initiatives related to sustainability. The Director reports jointly to the Offices of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (Provost). The Director functions as a visionary leader and organizational strategist to help Emory become a national model for sustainability in higher education. The Director is also responsible for strategizing ways to integrate sustainability into both the operational and academic functions of the University, network with and facilitate internal and external resources to accomplish that goal, and evaluate the needs of the University community. Further, this position is responsible for developing programs and new initiatives to enhance Emory’s stature and create detailed implementation plans for those initiatives. The Director creates and implements communication strategies to promote broad awareness of initiatives and coordinates a University-wide process and organizational structure to support sustainability inquiry, change, and assessment. They also build effective partnerships and relationships with surrounding communities and key Atlanta institutions and establish effective linkages with units across campus that may have sustainability initiatives in process or as part of their overall strategy. The Director also coordinates, supports, and expands opportunities for faculty, staff, students and administrators to learn about sustainability issues throughout the academic and operational dimensions of University life.

The Sustainability Program Coordinators manage the development and implementation of various sustainability programs, lead related teams and committees, and along with the Director coordinate, support, and expand opportunities for faculty, staff, and students and administrators to learn about sustainability issues throughout the academic and operational dimensions of University life.

The Faculty Liaison serves as the primary resource for faculty and research-related program development and implementation with the Office of Sustainability, and oversees the Sustainable Food Initiative.

The website URL where information about the sustainability officer(s) is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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