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 comes to Emory and becomes the first guardian of Emory’s forests.
1919
  • Professors W.H. Murdy and M.E.B. Carter authors 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 creates 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 crafts an Environmental Mission Statement for the University. The effort becomes a platform to bring environmental issues to the forefront across campus.
  • Emory’s Whitehead Medical Research Building is designated as the first LEED certified building constructed in the Southeast.
  • Emory’s Board of Trustees formalizes a commitment to upholding LEED standards in all new building projects.
  • The Piedmont Project, a program designed to engage faculty in integrating sustainability across the curriculum and through research, launches University-wide.
2001
  • An energy conservation program is 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
  • The Piedmont Project was expanded to include a one-day workshop for graduate students.
  • Emory adopted the Land Classification Plan, which set aside roughly half of Emory’s land as protected.
2004
  • Sustainability is established as a core commitment during university-wide strategic planning.
2005
2006
  • Emory University is recognized as the “Conservationist of the Year” by the Georgia Conservancy
2008
  • Princeton Review ranks Emory in the Top 11 Most Sustainable Campuses
2009
  • The League of American Bicyclists designates Emory a Bike Friendly Campus.
2010
2011
2012
2013
  • Emory once again receives a “Gold” rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System for leadership and innovation in sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • Emory becomes the first university in the nation to adopt a comprehensive Pollinator Protection Policy that bans neonicotinoid application and pre-treated plants, enhances pollinator habitat, and educates about the importance of pollinators to healthy food systems and ecosystems.
2014
  • Emory celebrates 10 years of accomplishments under its 2015 Sustainability Vision
  • Emory is ranked #8 on the “Greenest Universities” List on BestColleges.com
2015
2016
  • Emory once again receives a “Gold” rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System for leadership and innovation in sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
2017
  • Emory’s Druid Hills campus is annexed into the City of Atlanta’s boundaries.
  • Emory University adopts the Emory Waste Management Policy to move the campus toward its goal to divert 95% of its waste from municipal landfills.