Social Justice

Connecting sustainability and equity

Social justice is advanced when barriers people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability are removed. The environments in which people live are inextricably linked to quality of life, and therefore, tied to the pursuit of more sustainable systems. For Emory, a community is sustainable if economic, social and environmental systems provide a healthy, productive and meaningful life for all community residents, present and future.

Learning how to repair past wrongs by knowing our history: Land and Peoples Acknowledgment

Emory University and Emory Healthcare stand on the ancestral lands of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Throughout the history of this country, Indigenous Peoples have been oppressed, displaced, and murdered in their ancestral homeland, a home they cared for over centuries before it was wrongfully taken from them. Although we cannot change the past, we can change the outcome of the future. It is essential that we uplift the voices of Indigenous Peoples within our Emory and greater Atlanta community.


So Far

  • For many years, Emory has donated medical supplies and equipment to MedShare, a nonprofit founded in 1998 by former Emory employees to support clinics and hospitals in more than 100 countries.
  • Emory has donated old uniforms to the nonprofit re:Loom, which employs and empowers homeless and low-income individuals through weaving original products out of recycled materials.
  • In 2016, the Career & Professional Development Pathways Center launched the Emory Clothing Closet, which loans business casual and professional clothing to students for career fairs, interviews, and other professional events.
  • Emory developed a program of paid maternity and paternity leave for all Emory employees, achieving one of Emory’s Sustainability Vision goals.
  • During the construction of the Emory University Hospital Tower, soil removed to accommodate the underground parking deck was donated to the Fugees Academy in Clarkston, Georgia, where 78,000 cubic yards of dirt and filling was used to construct a soccer field. The Fugees Family, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to working with child survivors of war.
  • In 2005, Emory created the Emory Shuttle system, which transports about 3 million riders annually to jobs, school, and healthcare facilities.


  • Emory co-wrote the application for the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area to receive the designation from the United Nations as a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (UN RCE), which fosters a collaborative network working to enhance regional sustainability and implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Emory University’s Zero Landfill Waste goals seek to reduce the harmful social and public health impacts of landfills, which disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities.
  • The WaterHub at Emory recycles Emory’s sewage water into water that can be used to heat and cool its buildings, alleviating the strain on an over-burdened municipal system with a history of chronic sewage spills in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
  • Emory annually hosts Breaking the Cycle of Environmental Health Disparities in Children, a collaborative interdisciplinary research and training program. The program specifically targets communities where environmental hazards are related to circumstances of social and economic disadvantage.
  • The Eagle Food Pantry, a partnership between Emory and the Bread Coffeehouse, provides food to food insecure Emory students.
  • Emory Dining refills the Community Fridge located in the southwest corner of the first floor of AMUC three times a week, providing food to food insecure Emory community members.
  • The student group Slow Food Emory recovers extra food from Emory food service and packs it into free meals. More food security resources can be found here.
  • The Nia Project is an Emory/Grady Health System nonprofit that assists women of color in receiving mental health services.


Guided by sustainability, making choices that positively impact people in our community and beyond is critical. By 2025, Emory will:

  • Develop a campus-level and greater Emory community resilience plans that addresses health, personal well-being, and climate adaptation concerns.
  • Promote universal design and continue progress towards disability awareness and accessibility for all buildings, campus transit systems, and Emory programs.
  • Create intergenerational daycare centers at all campuses.
  • Expand awareness of healthy, sustainable behaviors among the populations served by Emory Healthcare through education and outreach.
  • Support sustainability-oriented efforts in Atlanta to expand pedestrian-friendly and accessible commercial/residential projects near campuses with price points appropriate to entry-level staff members.