Emory's Sustainability Innovator Awards celebrate students, faculty and staff

By Office of Sustainability Initiatives | Emory Report | March 26, 2019

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Bob Hascall, shown here in 2005, retired as Emory’s vice president of Campus Services in 2010. The Robert B. Hascall Sustainability Innovator Awards honor his legacy as a champion of green design, construction and operating practices.

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Every year, Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) presents inspiring students, faculty and staff with the Robert B. Hascall Sustainability Innovator Awards, and recognizes an Outstanding Sustainability Representative for enhancing sustainability at a building level.

Hascall was head of Campus Services until 2010, and he championed sustainability initiatives, especially within sustainable design and green building practices. More than that, he embodied a personal, admirable commitment to stewardship of the environment and of all people. OSI annually honors his contributions to Emory by recognizing members of the community who have a similar spirit and who have played an integral role in taking Emory’s sustainability initiatives to the next level.

Hascall passed away in September, making this a particularly special year to honor his work, kindness and memory by celebrating seven spectacular Sustainability Innovators:

Health Care Sustainability Innovator

Sarah Blanton, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine and associate director of research projects

Blanton is a thoughtful and passionate sustainability advocate at the Emory Rehabilitation Hospital and in the Department of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree program. She is a Piedmont Project graduate who successfully integrated sustainability into the physical therapy curriculum, with a mission to “advance a healthy, sustainable future within physical therapy, health care and society by building a culture of movement spanning all the interdependent systems that support human well-being.”

Blanton and her team of dedicated students built a website, www.greeningemorydpt.org, to formally establish the Emory DPT program’s commitment to sustainability and to broaden understanding and awareness of sustainability in the physical therapy profession. The website exhibits Blanton and her students’ values of healthful living, systems thinking and awareness of sustainability and well-being.

Faculty Sustainability Innovator

Caroline Schaumann, associate professor of German studies

Schaumann is a wonderful example of a scholar-servant whose teaching, research and community service all support a more sustainable Emory and world. She is the author of several works about the transition to our current geological period, the Anthropocene, characterized by human-driven impacts to the climate and natural world. She is also a scholar of Alexander Von Humboldt, who helped shape humanity’s knowledge and perceptions of the natural world and its integrated systems.

Schaumann’s service to the Office of Sustainability Initiatives has been consistent and meaningful. Among other contributions, she teaches the Foundations course for the sustainability minor and is one of the organizers of a “Green Lunch” series that provides faculty an opportunity to share their research with colleagues. 

Staff Sustainability Innovator

Jonathan Cooper, director of facilities and operations for housing in Campus Life

Cooper integrates the priority of sustainability into every aspect of his work as director of facilities and operations for housing. From move-in to Commencement, Cooper understands that sustainability is a critical aspect of the student experience at Emory and takes seriously its potential for a transformative experience that will help shape their lives.

His friendly demeanor and can-do attitude make for positive partnerships, even when dealing with the complex and difficult issues of student and staff behaviors in relation to waste management in the residence halls. He is a mission-driven, committed and hard-working leader.

Student Sustainability Innovators

Claire Barnes

Major: religion and philosophy

Minor: sustainability

Barnes’ commitment to sustainable food was apparent her first day on campus. In her first year, she joined the OSI team as the farmers market and sustainable food intern, where her friendly nature and passion for outreach led to her developing a genuine community around an appreciation for the people who grow and produce local food.

She was also instrumental in reviving the Emory chapter of the international Slow Food network that advocates for good, clean, fair food for all. With the Slow Food Emory group, she coordinated the creation of images exhibiting Emory’s sustainable food programs and values. This Lexicon of Food can now be found on the construction fences and walls of the Cox Hall patio. Claire also joined the Emory delegation to COP 23, attended the Slow Food International annual conference, and has been a leader in Residence Life as a Residence Hall Association sustainability chair and resident advisor.

Kryn Dykema

Major: interdisciplinary studies with a sustainability and urban development focus

Minor: economics

Dykema has worked with OSI as an intern for over two years, and in that time has championed work in carbon emissions reduction, energy, OSI’s Sustainable Events program, general campus outreach, communications and much more. He puts great enthusiasm into serving on the Energy & Water Taskforce, completing Emory’s greenhouse gas inventories, helping to develop an air travel carbon offset program, and educating the Emory community at campus events.

Dykema is conscientious and communicative, and was selected to be the 2018 Student Employee of the Year by the Office of Financial Aid. He is a person of great integrity and commitment, who represents the best of Emory and a bright future for climate adaptation and mitigation work in our community.

Angela Jiang

Major: environmental sciences

In Jiang’s years at Emory, she has become one of the most engaged and committed student leaders on campus. Her first semester, she jumped right in, enrolling in the annual Sustainable Food Fair class, which educates and trains students to become peer educators in the area of sustainable food. She enrolled again in the class for two more years acting as the student coordinator for the event.

She has a prominent leadership role in the Emory Climate Analysis & Solutions Team, in which she helps foster student research and ideas for addressing the changing climate. Jiang has also worked closely with the Career Center and OSI to develop more opportunities for student mentorship through an enhanced Green Networking Night experience and through a newer mentorship network in which third- and fourth-year students and young professionals mentor first- and second-year students. More recently, she has been energized by engaging in numerous ways with the Atlanta community advocating for transformative public policies, more thriving green spaces, fairer elections and increased access to public transportation.

Jamie Nadler

Major: environmental sciences

Minor: religion

Nadler was an effective agent of change on the Emory campus before graduating in December 2018 and moving into a sustainable food educator role. She constantly discovered ways to deepen her understanding of sustainability and to engage her friends and colleagues to share her knowledge. She truly enjoys mentoring others and excitedly assumed leadership roles to help realize goals she had for her time on campus.

Nadler was a leader for the Residence Hall Association Sustainability Chairs, Slow Food Emory, the Undergraduate Sustainability Group, Greeks Go Green and many more student groups. Through OSI, she led public tours of the WaterHub (most notably to a group of Girl Scouts who wrote a song about how great she is). She helped guide waste education and outreach after the waste policy rollout as an intern, received Incentives Fund grants to restore the understory layer behind the Math & Sciences building, and worked in the educational gardens on campus.

Sustainability building representative honored

The OSI convenes a group of 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 flourished in the program: 

Outstanding Sustainability Representative

Carrie Christie, program coordinator of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts

Christie is an engaged and active volunteer sustainability representative for the Schwartz Center. She attends almost all of the program’s monthly meetings, shares OSI information to building occupants and provides OSI with valuable feedback and suggestions. She goes above and beyond these expectations by carefully studying the habits of employees, students and visitors to the Center, and turning those observations into directed projects that target challenges unique to a performing arts space.

Christie led efforts to upgrade the efficiency of lighting, install hydration stations to reduce single-use plastic bottles and oversee careful placement of waste sorting stations and signage for the waste policy. Even before the new waste policy rolled out, she spearheaded efforts to expand recycling and compost in the Schwartz Center. From reporting leaky sprinklers to strategizing for sustainable events, her support and dedication is always professional and comprehensive.