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

Associate Vice President, Sustainability, Resilience and Economic Inclusion Adjunct Associate Professor, Emory University

Ciannat founded Emory’s first Office of Sustainability Initiatives in July 2006 before assuming her current role as Associate Vice President in 2019, managing an enterprise-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 Associate Professor in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and Emory College’s Environmental Sciences Department and a Senior Faculty Fellow with Emory’s Center for Ethics. Ciannat attended Emory as an undergraduate, receiving her B.A. in 1987, and she received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1992. She practiced environmental law with Kilpatrick Stockton for four years and was Senior Attorney with the Water Enforcement Division the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. for six years before serving as Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Georgia and Alabama office until 2006. She is a Trustee for the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, the PATH Foundation, and serves on the Advisory Board of Emory Law School’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic and the National Council on Competitiveness. She received the 2002 U.S. EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, the 2004 Environmental Hero Award from The Wilderness Society, the 2010 Pillar of Sustainability Award from EARTH University, the 2013 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award from Rollins School of Public Health, a 2014 Award of Distinction from Emory, and a 2020 Woman to Watch award from the U.S. Green Building Council. She is a co-founder of the Greater Atlanta Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. She is a frequent regional and national speaker on sustainability issues, and, for four years, was named a “Georgia Super Lawyer” by Atlanta magazine.

Kelly O'Day Weisinger

Director, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

An Atlanta native, Kelly joined Emory in 2012 as Sustainability Program Coordinator, and as the goals and programs of the office grew, was named Assistant Director in 2015 and Director in 2020. 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, Kelly 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

Assistant Director, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Taylor joined Emory University's Office of Sustainability Initiatives as a graduate intern in 2013, became a Programs Coordinator in 2015, moved into the Programs Manager role in 2018 and became the Assistant Director in 2020. 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. Taylor also manages OSI's daily communications platforms and strategies.

While Taylor was a graduate intern for OSI, she was also completing her Master's in Development Practice (MDP) degree at Emory. Taylor has conducted research on land rights in Rwanda, social movements in Northeast Brazil, effects of gender norms on climate adaptation for smallholder farmers in Kenya and Ghana, and intimate partner violence prevention in Vietnam,giving her a broad and interdisciplinary context to champion behavior change and community engagement. Locally, Taylor has served as a facilitator for the Decatur 2030 Strategic Plan community engagement effort, on the Generation Green Board of the Georgia Conservancy, on the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Millennial Advisory Committee, and as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

Erik Edwards

Educational Garden Project Coordinator, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

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.

Akelia Hypolite

Administrative Assistant, Sustainability, Resilience & Economic Inclusion

Akelia 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. Akelia 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.

Mindy Goldstein

Director of Law and Advocacy, Resilience & Sustainability Collaboratory

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.

Rebecca Philipsborn

Director of Climate, Health Education, and Clinical Partnerships, Resilience & Sustainability Collaboratory

Dr. Rebecca Philipsborn is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and the Director of Climate, Health Education and Clinical Partnerships for Emory’s Resilience and Sustainability Collaboratory (RSC). In research and in medical education, she focuses on the intersection of climate change and health, especially child health, and implications for health equity, clinical practice, and healthcare delivery.

Eri Saikawa

Director of Science Policy and Community, Resilience & Sustainability Collaboratory

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.

Justin Bright

General Sustainability & Sustainable Events Intern, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Justin Bright is an Events Intern and student in the Goizueta Business School. He is the VP of Programming for the Goizueta Black Student Association and Social Studies Editor for the Emory Undergraduate Research Journal. Justin is interested in writing, video editing, music, self-defense, and computer science.  

Nick Chang

General Sustainability Intern, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Nicholas Chang is a sophomore studying Environmental Sciences and Latin in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is involved in the Emory Ecological Society, Emory Int'l Relations Association, and the Committee on the Environment's Forest Management Subcommittee. His interests include amphibian conservation, habitat restoration, and ancient Mediterranean religion.

Christie Jones

Sustainable Food Fair Class Teaching Assistant, Office of Sustainability Initiatives

Christie Jones is a recent graduate from Emory College continuing her studies at the Rollins School of Public Health in the fall to earn her MPH in Environmental Health next spring through the 4+1 BS/MPH program. She has conducted research on the impact of development and land-use change on rabies transmission in Costa Rica, in addition to advocating for the elimination of herbicides through her work with Herbicide Free Emory and OSI.