Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.69
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Emory University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Taylor Spicer
Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

Emory has continued to actively advance the proposed Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative (CCTI), a light rail line that will connect major Atlanta businesses and residential hubs to each other via public transportation as well as serve the Emory community. The Clifton Corridor is currently the largest activity center in metro Atlanta with no direct access to a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) metro station or the interstate system. The proposed light rail line would serve over 40,000 CDC and Emory University employees and would generally help boost economic activity in the area. Emory has played a key role in both advancing the public popularity of the initiative in the Clifton Corridor area and helping secure finances for it. Betty Willis in Emory’s Office of Government & Community Affairs has actively engaged in advocacy and provided testimony to advance transit to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Board and to the MARTA Board. In October of 2018, the MARTA board decided to allocate $350 million in local funding to the CCTI, and Emory University and Emory Healthcare are working with other stakeholders in the Metro Atlanta area to secure additional funding for the project.

Emory’s Community Building and Social Change fellows program has partnered with DeKalb County for the past eight years to play a central role in the DeKalb Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative. This initiative aims to support neighborhood priorities to improve quality of life. This includes local economic development, access to quality education, and environmental quality, such as reduced air and noise pollution and access to clean water.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

In early 2017, former Emory President, Jim Wagner; Claire Sterk, Emory's President during the reporting period; and Jonathan Lewin, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs as well as President, CEO, and Chairman for Emory Healthcare, met with Emory's state Senator Elena Parent and Emory's state Representative Mary Margaret Oliver to discuss regional transit expansion. Betty Willis in Emory’s Office of Government & Community Affairs has also actively engaged in advocacy and provided testimony to advance transit in the State Legislature.

Emory testified (via Joan Kowal, the Senior Director of Energy Strategy and Utilities at Emory) before the Georgia Public Service Commission in April 2019. This testimony regarded the proposed installation of a distribution-connected microgrid on campus. This installation of a microgrid would provide better energy efficiency and resiliency to Emory University, Emory Healthcare, the CDC, and the surrounding community.

In 2018, Emory Law School’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic, along with representatives from Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, published the Georgia Model Solar Zoning Ordinance. This ordinance provides a guide to safely expanding solar panel infrastructure in Georgia communities without disrupting the environment and neighborhood well-being. Poorly sited solar energy projects can do more harm than good if not planned correctly, and this ordinance lays out strategies for safe and effective planning, all while encouraging rapid (though not so rapid to be unsafe) solar energy development in Georgia


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

Emory was encouraged by the February 2019 federal spending package increasing funding for research in the sciences. Emory urged Congress to complete the FY19 appropriations process to provide certainty in funding to researchers at Emory and other research institutions. Here are some research breakthroughs made possible through funded research https://news.emory.edu/features/2019/12/research-funding/index.html

Emory is part of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and in 2019 helped organize a letter along with other AAMC colleges urging congress to pass legislation providing a path to citizenship for those approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other young undocumented immigrants.

In 2019, Emory contributed nearly 24 times the grant/scholarship financial aid ($335 million) to our students than the federal government provided ($14 million). And the Emory Advantage program gives students the opportunity to graduate with little or no debt, easing the financial burdens that can limit postgraduate career or education choices. Priorities include improved financial aid dollars as well as policies that support highly functioning institutions of higher education.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

Emory University is an official observer at the UN climate talks. Since 2015, Emory has sent an annual faculty and student delegation to the Conference of the Parties for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At the COP, the faculty and student teams have presented posters and other information about Emory’s sustainability activities and efforts for local, national and international climate action. Visit https://climatetalks.emorydomains.org/category/blog/ to read reflections from student delegates on these trips.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

The question is not applicable because Emory is a non-profit organization and does not make political contributions.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.