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.
As Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, she is chair of the Sustainable Food Committee and co-leader of the Piedmont Project.
Founding coordinator of the Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Stewardship in 1999, Peggy also began the Piedmont Project in 2001 with Arri Eisen of Science and Society. She worked with Julia Gaskin of the University of Georgia to found the Atlanta Local Food Initiative and currently co-coordinates that group with Alice Rolls of Georgia Organics.
She is co-editor of Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change with Geoffrey W. Chase (MIT Press, 2004). Inspired by Emory faculty response to woods walks at Emory, she later edited Urban Place: Reconnecting with the Natural World (MIT Press, 2005).
Bobbi Patterson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Religion
Bobbi's research focuses on spiritual practices, particularly in relation to wilderness and social change. With training in feminist theory and theology, her interests generally focus at the intersections of symbolisms of the body, psychodynamics, and cultural construction/reconstruction. Her comparative fields are Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. An advocate of "scholar citizenship" for faculty and students, she facilitates workshops, programs, and community partnerships in experiential and community-based learning.
Committed to the scholarship of teaching, she has published numerous articles on these topics. She received her B.A. from Smith College with a major in Religion, M.Div. from Harvard and Ph.D. from Emory. She lives with her husband in Decatur, Georgia, and enjoys kayaking, swimming and hiking.
Emily Cumbie-Drake, Program Coordinator
Cumbie-Drake works with University committees and various groups on campus in fulfilling Emory’s sustainability vision. She is a graduate from Emory College in 2010 with a B. A. As an Emory student, she was actively engaged in sustainability efforts on campus, including serving on Emory’s Sustainable Food Committee and managing the Green Bean Coffee Cart. Cumbie-Drake was a 2010 Robert T. Jones Scholar and most recently worked as a volunteer for Heiffer International.
Kelly O’Day Weisinger, Program Coordinator
Weisinger collaborates with Emory University and Emory Healthcare leadership in helping to fulfill Emory’s sustainability vision. Previously, she worked in transportation and sustainability community development with Midtown Alliance. She obtained a master’s in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School in 2009 while working full-time as assistant director of admissions for the law school.