A long-standing commitment to sustainable growth

Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives was founded in 2006, with Ciannat Howett selected as the first executive director. However, the University has a long-standing reputation as a sustainability leader in higher education. For many years, dedicated staff, faculty, students and others have been involved with environmental issues on campus, in the classroom and beyond.

  • Professor Woolford Baker came to Emory and became the first guardian of Emory’s forests.
1919
  • Professors WH Murdy and MEB Carter authored an assessment that concluded Emory’s forests represent “a unique and valuable resource of scientific, educational, and aesthetic value.”
1986
  • Led by anthropology professor Peggy Bartlett, a group of faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni created an Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Stewardship to foster a deeper engagement with sustainability issues.
1999
  • After a decade of assessment and action, the Ad Hoc Committee crafted an Environmental Mission Statement for the University. The effort became a platform to bring environmental issues to the forefront across campus.
  • Emory’s Whitehead Medical Research Building was designated as the first LEED certified building constructed in the Southeast.
  • Emory’s Board of Trustees formalized a commitment to upholding LEED standards in all new building projects.
  • John Wegner was hired as Campus Environmental Officer in the division of Campus Services, a role he held until 2009.
  • Launch of the Piedmont Project, a program designed to engage faculty in integrating sustainability across the curriculum
2001
  • An energy conservation program was piloted in ten Emory College buildings; after communications efforts, electricity use went down 8 percent in the first year and 6.7 percent in the second year despite growth in faculty, staff and machines in some buildings.
2002
  • Sustainability is established as a core commitment during university-wide strategic planning. The “Sustainability Vision for Emory” was adopted by the President’s Cabinet and guides the University’s efforts today.
  • The Piedmont Project was expanded to include a one-day workshop for graduate students
2004
  • Emory University is recognized as the “Conservationist of the Year” by the Georgia Conservancy
2008
  • Princeton Review ranked Emory in the Top 11 Most Sustainable Campuses
2009
  • The League of American Bicyclists designated Emory a Bike Friendly Campus
2010
  • Emory received the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, “Gold” rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System for leadership and innovation
  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education awarded Peggy Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology and Sustainable Food Committee chair, the inaugural Faculty Sustainability Leadership award
2011
  • National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) – acknowledged Emory with the Sustainability Award in Procurement
  • The Emory Conference Center Hotel is recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) – “Good Earthkeeping” award
  • Emory received the American Physical Plant Association (APPA) – Sustainability Award in Facilities Management
2012
  • The U.S. Green Building Council ranked Emory the best higher education institution on the “Best of Green Schools” list
2013
  • Emory is ranked #8 on the “Greenest Universities” List on BestColleges.com
2015
  • Emory is recognized as top performer in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index
  • Emory’s WaterHub is awarded the U.S. Water Prize, the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge’s Game Changer Award and the ACEC Engineering Excellence Award
  • Emory is ranked #9 in EPA Battle of the Buildings Competition
2016