The Office of Sustainability Initiatives works with University leaders and representatives to integrate sustainability into both the operational and academic functions of the University. Director Ciannat Howett reports to Mike Mandl, executive vice president for Finance and Administration, and networks with and facilitates internal and external resources to meet the program’s goals. Howett is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating sustainability initiatives across the University while also building partnerships with surrounding communities and key Atlanta institutions.
Ciannat Howett, Director of Sustainability Initiatives
Howett became Emory’s first Director of Sustainability Initiatives in September 2006, managing a University-wide effort to ensure that Emory’s actions and policies support environmental, social, and economic systems that provide a healthy, productive, and meaningful life for current and future generations. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. Ciannat attended Emory University as an undergraduate, receiving her B.A. in 1987. She then worked at Emory until 1989 as Associate Director of Alumni Giving and the first Director of the Emory Parents Fund. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia in 1992. She practiced environmental law with Kilpatrick Stockton in its Atlanta and Washington, DC offices for four years, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. as Senior Attorney with the Water Enforcement Division for six years and served for four years as Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Georgia and Alabama office.
She is a Trustee for the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation and serves on the Board of Emory Law School’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic, The Livable Communities Coalition, Sustainable Atlanta, and Grants to Green. She serves on the DeKalb County Green Commission, the Agnes Scott National Sustainability Advisory Committee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Sustainability Task Force, and the President’s Council of the Southern Environmental Law Center. She received the 2002 U.S. EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, the 2004 Environmental Hero Award from The Wilderness Society, and the 2010 Pillar of Sustainability Award from EARTH University. She is a frequent regional and national speaker on sustainability issues, and, for four years, has been named a “Georgia Super Lawyer” by Atlanta magazine.
Peggy F. Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology
Peggy F. Barlett is Faculty Liaison to the Office of Sustainability Initiatives and Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology. She works mainly in the areas of food and curriculum, though also contributes to other aspects of culture change and sustainability at Emory. As Chair of the Sustainable Food Committee, she works with Emory Dining to support a comprehensive purchasing commitment and tracking system for the campus. The committee also oversees the weekly Farmers Market, the Educational Garden Project, and the annual Sustainable Food Fair. Emory’s initiative to expand sustainability education is called the Piedmont Project, and faculty and graduate student workshops have become models for other universities around the country. In addition to workshops, Peggy also works with the Sustainability Minor offered by the College. In 2014-15, she co-chaired the Vision Committee with Matthew Early, Vice President for Campus Services, to develop a new ten-year strategic plan for sustainability.
She is co-editor of Sustainability in Higher Education: Stories and Strategies for Transformation with Geoffrey W. Chase (MIT Press, 2013) as well as the earlier volume Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change, 2004. Inspired by the Emory faculty's response to woods walks at Emory, she also edited Urban Place: Reconnecting with the Natural World (MIT Press, 2005).
Bobbi Patterson, Professor of Pedagogy, Department of Religion
Bobbi's research focuses on American religious cultures, specifically questions of place and space in relation to cultural and social frameworks and practices. With particular interest in lived religion, she studies contemplative practices, particularly in relation to nature and wilderness. Her interests in engaged pedagogies ranges from experiential learning in outdoor settings to classes involved with community-engaged social change.
With training in feminist theory and theology, her work on place and engagement also attends to the intersections of phenomenology and the body and the southern bio-region. In Religious Studies, her comparative fields are Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. An advocate of "scholar citizenship" for faculty and students, she facilitates workshops, programs, and national conversations in these areas. She has published numerous articles on these topics.
Bobbi's B.A. is from Smith College with a major in Religion. Her Masters of Divinity degree is from Harvard and her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies is from Emory University. She lives with her husband in Decatur, Georgia, and enjoys kayaking, swimming and hiking.
Kelly O’Day Weisinger, Program Coordinator
Kelly O’Day Weisinger joined Emory in 2012 as Sustainability Programs Coordinator, collaborating with Emory University and Healthcare leadership in fulfilling Emory’s Sustainability vision. She conducts staff outreach and engagement and works with all of Emory’s university and healthcare departments on projects including waste minimization, energy and water use reduction, sustainable procurement, climate action, lab and office sustainability, and curriculum and research. Previously, Kelly spent two years working in transportation and sustainability with Midtown Alliance in Midtown, Atlanta. She acquired a Master in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School in 2009 while working full time as Assistant Director of Admissions for the Law School. Though she has lived in Connecticut, Colorado, and Vermont, she is an Atlanta native and now calls Decatur home.
Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) relies heavily on the work of interns for research, benchmarking, implementation, and outreach in all areas of sustainability. Read more about our current interns below, and click here to learn about current internship opportunities!
Elizabeth Whiting Pierce, RHA Sustainability Chairs Graduate Intern
Elizabeth Whiting Pierce is a doctoral student in Laney Graduate School's Division of Religion. Her dissertation probes how civic organizations influence public participation in the governance of Georgia's rivers. Liz began her work at the Office of Sustainability Initiatives in Spring 2015. As RHA Sustainability Chairs Graduate Intern, Liz supports student leaders working to encourage sustainability practice in their residential halls through peer-to-peer education.
Emily Li, Sustainability Communications Intern
Emily Li is a rising junior in the College studying Creative Writing/English and Environmental Science. Last summer, she interned with the College of Charleston's Office of Sustainability, where she helped manage social media initiatives and wrote articles for their regional sustainability magazine, Synergies. Emily believes effective communication and collaboration are the keys to many sustainability issues. As a communications intern, she hopes to help bridge the information gap between the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, students, faculty, staff, the wider Atlanta community, and beyond. In her spare time, Emily enjoying writing fantasy young adult novels and drinking way too much boba.