Emory’s Sustainability Innovator Awards honor students, faculty and staff

Emory Report | April 14, 2020

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This year’s recipients of the Robert B. Hascall Sustainability Innovator Awards are (clockwise from left) Rebecca Philipsborn, Sara McKlin, Elena Jordanov, Bree Ettinger, Claire Dakhlia and Tjuan Dogan.

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Since 2007, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives has recognized sustainability champions of Emory University and Emory Healthcare by celebrating their inspiring and committed work with the Robert S. Hascall Sustainability Innovator Awards and Outstanding Sustainability Representative Award.

These awards are given to students, faculty and staff who employ research, academics, engagement and leadership to foster sustainability in the Emory enterprise and broader community by motivating their colleagues and community partners to do the same.

All honorees exemplify the community-building, kindness and sustainability vision embodied by Robert “Bob” Hascall, who retired from Emory in 2010. As the vice president of Campus Services, Hascall was a dedicated environmental steward and courageous leader in the areas of green buildings and operations.

The OSI is honored to recognize the following faculty, staff and students this year.

Health Care Sustainability Innovator
Rebecca Philipsborn, assistant professor of pediatrics

Philipsborn is a primary care pediatrician at Emory and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and leverages her medical, public health, environmental science and policy expertise to elevate Emory’s leadership in sustainability and resiliency.

Philipsborn serves as a member of the Emory Healthcare Sustainability Council, advising Healthcare and Health Sciences on integrating climate solutions and sustainability into operations, medical practice, curriculum and more. She also is a faculty adviser to Emory’s Resilience and Sustainability Collaboratory. Philipsborn generously shares her passion and expertise beyond Emory as a climate advocate for the Georgia American Academy of Pediatrics, a founding member of Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action and a member of the Lancet Climate Countdown U.S. Brief working group.

In addition to her numerous internal and external accomplishments, Philipsborn serves current and future Emory medical students by integrating climate solutions into medical education at all levels.

Faculty Sustainability Innovator
Bree Ettinger, senior lecturer, Department of Mathematics 

When discussing the interdisciplinarity of sustainability, one frequently receives the question: What about math? How could sustainability be infused into the math curriculum? Ettinger has shown that applied mathematics can help support and shape sustainability policies and advocacy in meaningful ways.

For the past several years, Ettinger has led students in analyzing Emory’s annual Sustainability Literacy Survey to produce results that contribute to an efficacy assessment of Emory’s sustainability initiatives. She has served as faculty adviser and a leader of the Piedmont Project and the Resilience and Sustainability Collaboratory.

Ettinger models community-engaged scholarship. For example, she helped analyze data for Safe Routes to Schools to determine the routes with the fewest pedestrian and bicycling injuries and worked with Fair Fight Georgia, a nonprofit focused on combatting voter suppression, to identify the number and location of polling stations.

Staff Sustainability Innovator
Tjuan Dogan, associate vice president, Social Impact Innovation 

Dogan joined Emory’s Office of Government and Community Affairs in December 2018, and immediately made an impact in elevating sustainability as a priority for her work and that of her division. 

Having come to Emory with more than a decade of experience in corporate social responsibility, Dogan understood immediately that sustainability was a defining principle of Emory and saw the value it held in enhancing the institution and its relationship with the broader community. 

Dogan coordinates Emory’s social impact reporting and leads communication about Emory’s value in the local and global communities. She has served as a member of the Sustainability Vision Committee and as adviser to the Resilience and Sustainability Collaboratory.  

Undergraduate Student Innovator
Claire Dakhlia
Major: chemistry and sustainability
Minor: interdisciplinary studies

Dakhlia, a senior in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, has been an exemplary student sustainability leader during her time at Emory, integrating her commitment to sustainability practices and peer education into the many leadership roles she has held on campus.

She worked directly with OSI as the Sustainable Food and Farmers Market intern, using her outreach and communications talents to improve relationships with vendors, educate students about sustainable and local food and involve the Emory community in the civic engagement process during the 2018 midterm elections. She also challenged other campus organizations in which she had leadership roles (Residence Life, College Council and University Center Board) to further integrate sustainability best practices into their operations and the Emory student experience. Dakhlia has since taken this experience to enhance sustainability outreach and advocacy work in the wider Atlanta area through a fellowship with the Southface Institute.

Graduate Student Innovator
Elena Jordanov
Program: master of public health

Jordanov is a quiet and humble, yet powerful, student leader and researcher who uses her intelligence for collective action. She began her Emory journey at Oxford College, graduated from Emory College in 2018 with a major in chemistry and is now pursuing an MPH in environmental health through Rollins School of Public Health.

She and a colleague piloted Emory’s Lab Freezer Challenge in the labs of the Chemistry Department. She also conducted fundamental research and outreach in support of the Green Labs Program, was instrumental in assisting with the lab recycling program pilot in the Rollins School of Public Health, assisted Emory’s Climate Action and Resilience Taskforce with launching the Emory Resilience Framework and led public tours of the WaterHub at Emory to educate people on the facility’s impact.

OSI believes that Jordanov’s interests in science, public health, sustainable energy and resource extraction, combined with her empathy and passion, have all informed her impressive work that has shaped (and will continue to shape) Emory operations and engagement efforts for the foreseeable future.

Outstanding Sustainability Representative
Sara McKlin, site operations coordinator, Candler School of Theology

McKlin shows outstanding leadership as a member of Emory’s Sustainability Representatives.

She exhibits a deeply-rooted curiosity about how to implement Emory’s Waste Policy in every facet of operations and behavior change. Alongside her Candler School of Theology colleagues, McKlin led the school to win the 2019 Recycling Competition by diverting more than 37,000 pounds of waste from landfills in the month of November. She contributes new ideas to Emory’s Waste Think Tank, working to overcome difficult challenges to reaching Emory’s goal to divert 95% of waste from landfills by 2025. She is a dedicated and committed sustainability representative, sharing resources and ideas with her colleagues and supporting Candler’s deep commitment to sustainability.