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Awards honor committee drafting Emory's new Sustainability Vision

Emory Report | Dec. 17, 2015

The Sustainability Innovator Awards are presented annually to faculty, staff and students who further the university's goal of a sustainable campus. This year, the awards went to the members of the Sustainability Visioning Committee, who have been working for over a year to draft Emory’s Sustainability Vision 2016-2025.

“Our office depends on the contributions and leadership of Emory community members to bring the sustainability vision to life,” says Ciannat Howett, director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives. “These innovators and outstanding representatives use their skills and unique perspectives to implement initiatives that engage groups across Emory to move the needle further on sustainability.”

Presented by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, the Robert B. Hascall Sustainability Innovator Awards honor the leadership of Bob Hascall who, up until his retirement in 2010 as head of Campus Services, was a champion of Emory's sustainability initiatives, in particular its sustainable design and green building practices.

As members of the Sustainability Visioning Committee, the 2015 winners facilitated community discussions across campus and in the Atlanta community to get input, as well as synthesized hundreds of suggestions into one Vision draft, which is currently under review by the university administration.

The 2015 Sustainability Innovators are:

  • Peggy Barlett, committee co-chair: Barlett is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, the faculty liaison to OSI, and the co-chair of the Sustainability Vision Committee guiding the visioning process. She co-chaired the first Sustainability Vision Committee in 2005 as well. She works mainly in the areas of food and curriculum, while contributing also to aspects of culture change and sustainability at Emory. Barlett is also the chair of the Sustainable Food Committee.
  • Steve Bowen, dean of Oxford College: Bowen earned a doctorate in zoology from Rhodes University in South Africa. In his life as a scientist, he has specialized in fish ecology, studying it in depth in Africa, Venezuela, Argentina and New Guinea. At Emory, he has been instrumental in advancing sustainability on Oxford’s campus, supporting an array of sustainability initiatives, including the Oxford College Organic Farm.
  • Christian Bowers, undergraduate student: Christian Bowers was an Emory College senior pursuing a double major in economics and environmental sciences who graduate last May. He is now working for Ernst & Young in the Performance Improvement department. Bowers was selected to be the undergraduate representative on Emory's Sustainability Visioning Committee because of his involvement with sustainability throughout his academic career.
  • Matthew Early, committee co-chair: Early is Emory's vice pesident for Campus Services, overseeing Planning, Design and Construction; Facilities Management; Transportation and Parking Services, and Police and Fire Safety. Since arriving at Emory in 2010, he has been dedicated to continuing the Campus Services commitment to growing Emory University's campus in a way that is environmentally sensitive, while maintaining its beauty.
  • Ioulia Fenton, graduate student: Fenton is a third year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, president and founder of the Graduate Sustainability Group and the graduate student representative on Emory’s Sustainability Visioning Committee. She is currently conducting Social Network Analysis research on the sustainability network throughout Emory, for which she was awarded a Sustainability Incentives Fund award in both 2014 and 2015.
  • Dave Fuhrman, senior director of auxiliary services and administration: Since 2013, Fuhrman has been working towards bringing healthier and more sustainable food options to Emory’s dining facilities as director of Dining Services. This year, he transitioned into his current role in which he builds relationships with students, faculty and staff by building coalitions and working to understand the diverse needs of those whom he serves. Furhman is also a member of Emory’s Sustainable Food Committee.
  • Joan Kowal, senior director of energy strategy and utilities: Kowal provides vision, leadership and direction in developing short- and long-term energy strategies to achieve Emory’s energy and carbon reduction goals. She works closely with Emory’s utilities providers, constantly exploring alternative ways to make energy more efficient and reduce use when possible.
  • Carolyn Livingston, former senior associate vice president of Campus Life: Livingston supervised the Student Intervention Services Team and the Student Ombudsperson, leading the division’s strategic planning process, and centralizing the university’s sexual misconduct adjudication process, before she left Emory during the summer of 2015.
  • Justin Remais, associate professor of environmental health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health: Remais holds a master's in civil and environmental engineering and a doctorate in environmental health sciences, both from the University of California at Berkeley. At Emory, his teaching has included undergraduate and graduate level courses in climate change and health, global environmental health, and environmental determinants of infectious disease.
  • Tom Rogers, associate professor of modern Latin American history: Rogers’s research and interest has evolved around modern Latin and Afro-Latin American history, especially in Brazil, and labor and environmental history. He has published various books, including most recently "Agriculture’s Energy: Development and Hunger During Brazil’s Ethanol Boom," which examines 20th century agricultural modernization.
  • Eri Saikawa, assistant professor of environmental sciences: Saikawa joined Emory in 2013 and has been contributing to the university's sustainability initiatives since her arrival. She was awarded the Sustainability Innovator Award last year for her work co-founding Climate@Emory, an interdisciplinary, university-wide initiative to advance climate change scholarship, teaching and engagement at Emory and beyond. Her research links public policy and the science of emissions to air pollution, ozone depletion and global warming.
  • Paige Tolbert, chair of environmental health at Rollins School of Public Health: Tolbert has a 20-year career of research, teaching and service in environmental epidemiology. She has studied carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, water pollution, and most recently,  the pulmonary, cardiac, and reproductive health effects of ambient air pollution. She serves on the Sustainability Initiatives’ Faculty Advisory Council and is part of a team that recently received an $8 million award from the EPA Clean Air Research Center for a five-year collaboration with Georgia Tech. 
  • Demetrius Woods, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology: Woods is an alumnus of Emory's Schools of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health. He seeks to empower doctors to make sustainable decisions using education and evidence. His research project comparing the carbon footprint of three types of surgeries was recently accepted for publication. He serves on Emory’s Sustainability in Health Sciences Task Force.

Sustainability building representative lauded

The OSI convenes a group of faculty and staff who each represent a building or department and work to implement sustainability efforts amongst their colleagues. These sustainability building representatives work year-round to expand the reach of OSI by acting as liaisons and change agents across the Emory community. This year, OSI recognized a representative who has gone above and beyond in 2015:

  • Susannah Conroy, Outstanding Sustainability Representative Award: Conroy is a senior research administrative coordinator and the sustainability representative for Winship Cancer Institute/Emory Clinic C. She has been an unwavering advocate for sustainability in Winship for many years, and instrumental in evolving Winship’s culture to include sustainability within a unique setting that combines healthcare and academia. Most recently, she has worked with OSI and Emory Recycles on implementing a recycling program in Winship’s public, clinical and lab spaces.