Working together for a sustainable future

The Office of Sustainability Initiatives team works with leaders and representatives to integrate sustainability into both the operational and academic functions of the entire Emory enterprise, including all academic locations and health care facilities across the state.

Ciannat Howett

Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Howett became Emory's first Director of Sustainability Initiatives in 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.
Howettt networks with and facilitates internal and external resources to the goals of Emory OSI. She leads the development, implementation and evaluation of sustainability initiatives across the University while also building partnerships with surrounding communities and key Atlanta institutions.
Howett attended Emory University as an undergraduate, receiving her B.A. in 1987. She then worked in fundraising at Emory until 1989, and then earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. She practiced environmental law with Kilpatrick Stockton and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and served as Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center's Georgia and Alabama office. She is a frequent regional and national speaker on sustainability issues and serves on many community leadership boards and commissions.

Kelly O'Day Weisinger

Assistant Director

An Atlanta native, O'Day Weisinger joined Emory in 2012 as Sustainability Program Coordinator, and as the goals and programs of the office grew, was named Assistant Director in 2015. She conducts faculty and staff outreach and engagement and works with all of Emory's university and healthcare departments to improve operations, reduce environmental impact and create dialogue around sustainability issues. She works to green the supply chain across the University including ensuring sustainability is factored into supplier contracts and analyzes Emory'/s carbon footprint to implement strategies toward climate action goals.

Previously, O'Day Weisinger spent two years working in transportation and sustainability with the Midtown Alliance in Atlanta. She earned 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. She earned a bachelor of arts in environmental studies and anthropology from Connecticut College, and serves on The Lovett School Sustainability Advisory Board, the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center Advisory Board, and the City Schools of Decatur Operations Advisory Committee.

Taylor Spicer

Programs Manager

Spicer joined Emory University's Office of Sustainability Initiatives in 2015. She works directly with students and others to increase their knowledge about sustainability issues, engage them in action and support them in behavior change. She works closely with Emory Dining to support their efforts to source more food locally and sustainably and to co-manage the weekly Emory Farmers Market. She also runs the WaterHub student docent program, the OSI intern program, and the Zero Waste Ambassadors outreach group.

Before she was the Programs Manager, Spicer worked as a graduate intern for the OSI for two years, running a behavior change program in residence halls. During that time, she was also completing her Master's in Development Practice (MDP) degree at Emory. Spicer has conducted research in Rwanda, Brazil, Kenya, Ghana and Vietnam, giving her a broad and interdisciplinary context to champion behavior change and community engagement.

Akelia Hypolite

Administrative Assistant

Hypolite joined the Office of Sustainability Initiatives team in 2015. In this role, She maintains office operations and supports event coordination. Before Emory, she worked at Pruitthealth-Brookhaven as a receptionist and admissions administrative assistant. Hypolite earned her BA in Speech Communications from Georgia State University in 2010. While attending GA State, she volunteered with the SpeakLife Organization as a speech consultant.

Erik Edwards

Educational Garden Project Coordinator

Erik grew up on a family farm outside of Athens, GA. As a child, he had a passion for plants and gardening with some of his fondest memories being outside with his parents and grandparents working in the dirt of his family’s garden. Erik graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S.A in Horticulture in 2013 and took a job managing 5 acres of floriculture greenhouses in Denver, Colorado. In 2017, he and his wife moved back to Georgia as he took on the position of research greenhouse manager for Emory’s biology department. During his time as the research greenhouse manager, he assisted with the garden project by growing the plant starters and volunteering his time. In June of 2019, he was able combine his position as the greenhouse manager with coordinating the OSI garden project.

Mindy Goldstein

Faculty Fellow

Clinical Professor Mindy Goldstein is director of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic and director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at Emory Law School. Her work focuses on matters related to sustainable energy and climate change, land use and conservation, sustainable agriculture and urban farming, protection of natural resources, and access to information.

Eri Saikawa

Faculty Fellow

Eri Saikawa is an Associate Professor in Environmental Sciences at Emory University. She conducts interdisciplinary research on the environment, and her main research questions are related to the source and the magnitude of emissions linked to air pollution, ozone depletion and global warming, as well as the impacts of these emissions on humans and on society.

Melissa Smarr

Faculty Fellow

Melissa Smarr is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Health at Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Her research interests include environmental exposures (air pollution, personal care products, and pesticides) and reproductive health among vulnerable populations. Additionally, she co-developed and teaches a course on Environmental Justice, and serves as faculty advisor to the Emory Environmental Justice Organization student group.