Community Conversations: Emory Talks Climate Action

Open conversations to support Emory's climate action planning

Community Conversations: Emory Talks Climate Action Highlights

Emory University is undergoing a climate action planning and resilience assessment process led by the Emory Climate Action Task Force. To ensure the Task Force’s work is informed by the entire Emory community, Emory will host six Community Conversations this academic year to connect students, faculty, and staff across Emory University and Oxford College campuses to share climate action planning priorities. These Conversations will be hosted in various locations and at different times to enhance physical accessibility to the sessions.

These sessions are a key part of the University continuing progress toward pre-existing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals – 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050, using a 2010 baseline – and upholding new commitments made by signing Second Nature’s Climate Commitment and by joining the United Nation’s Race to Zero campaign. Sign up to join a conversation using this registration link.  

President Fenves signing climate commitments with student leaders


Emory is committed to creating a climate action plan that inspires action at all levels; integrates equity in process and solutions; accounts for the latest science; and addresses Emory’s unique assets, opportunities, history, and context. To do this, we need everyone’s help!  All Emory community members, no matter your familiarity with Emory’s sustainability initiatives, are encouraged to register to join any of the upcoming Community Conversations.

Conversations that have passed:

  • Friday, November 18th: 1:00-2:30 pm Emory Student Center N102-N103
  • Friday, December 2nd: 10:00-11:30 am Oxford College Dean’s Dining Room
  • Wednesday, January 25th: 11:00 am-12:30 pm Grace Crum Rollins building, 8th floor Rita Ann Rollins Room (room 860)
  • Wednesday, March 1st: 4:30-6:00 pm Campus Services, Building B, Training Room B
  • Friday, March 24th: 10:00-11:30 am Virtual session (registration required)
  • Thursday, April 6th: 2:00-3:30 pm Goizueta Foundation Center W525

Community Conversations: Emory Talks Climate Action Benefits

As stated in the Second Nature Climate Commitment Emory University signed:

“We believe colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by providing the knowledge, research, practice, and informed graduates to create a positive and sustainable future. Along with other aspects of sustainability, campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by integrating resilience into their curriculum, research, and campus operations will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a vital, ethical, and prosperous civil society.”

How It Works

Climate Conversations are a piece of a broader process. The Conversations will be facilitated by Ed Lee, III, Senior Director of Inclusivity for Emory College of Arts and Sciences. Learn more about Lee here:

Community Conversations Facilitator, Ed Lee III, EdD

Ed Lee III, EdD is the Senior Director of Inclusivity in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences. With an emphasis on organizational communication, culture formation, and enhanced collaboration, Ed develops and facilitates department/program level programming and discussion on DEI-related issues across the College of Arts and Sciences. In this role, he supports more than 50 departments and programs in their efforts to create hospitable and intellectually engaging environments for the College’s faculty, staff, and students.

Ed is a highly sought-after trainer and facilitator. His work focuses on developing tailored strategies to improve how we communicate while deepening our understanding of the role culture plays in cultivating trusting and collaborative workspaces and other communities.

Ed is a relentless advocate for public debate and dialogue. He is a national media commentator for U.S. Presidential Debates and the use of arguments in public discourse. He is routinely seen on national and local media outlets discussing presidential debate strategies and their impact on national politics.

Additionally, Ed is the former Senior Director of the Alben W. Barkley Forum for Debate Deliberation, and Dialogue (BF) which houses Emory’s nationally acclaimed debate team and its cutting-edge dialogue programs. As the Senior Director for Barkley Forum, Ed was the 2015 Ross K Smith National Coach of the Year and a three-time recipient of the James Unger Award given to the coach of the best debate team in the country. He continues to serve as an engaged senior-level advisor to the organization.

Ed ( is also the owner and principal creative for ConverseLee, LLC. Working with academic departments, nonprofit organizations, and local governments, ConverseLee supports organizations working to cultivate their collective genius through improved communication and collaboration strategies.

Ed has a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Georgia’s Institute for Higher Education (IHE), a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama, and is currently studying the interconnections between religion, justice, and peace-building at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.

This October, the Emory Climate Action Task Force convened for a parallel process to help fulfill Second Nature’s Climate Commitment. The Task Force will continue to meet monthly through August 2023 and is charged with creating Emory’s climate action plan and a resilience assessment. Input from the Conversations will be assessed and used by the Task Force as its members create Emory’s plan and assessment. The Task Force members are: 

Student Groups

  • Candler Creation Keepers
  • Department of Physical Therapy Sustainability Club
  • Emory Climate Coalition
  • Emory Ecological Society
  • Emory Medical Students for Climate Action
  • Plastic Free Emory
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative
  • Rollins Environmental Health Action Coalition


  • Energy Manager: Justin Thomas
  • Engineering Services: Chris Fox
  • Office of Government and Community Affairs:  Brandon Gardner
  • Office of Sustainability Initiatives: Ciannat Howett, Taylor Spicer, Sofie diTommaso, Zoe Price, and Lydia Stubbs
  • Oxford College Farm: Daniel Parson
  • Planning, Design & Construction: Lucy Williams
  • President’s Office: Anjulet Tucker
  • Procurement: Wade Sanner
  • Provost’s Office: Nancy Bliwise
  • Transportation: Walter Kolis

  • Faculty

  • Emory College: Carrie Keogh, Eri Saikawa, and Emily Burchfield
  • Goizueta Business School: Wes Longhofer
  • Rollins School of Public Health: Yang Liu
  • School of Medicine: Rebecca Philipsborn
  • School of Law: Mindy Goldstein
  • School of Nursing: Lisa Thompson

  • Community Members

  • City of Atlanta: Michelle Midanier
  • Interface: Joey Shea
  • Second Nature: Blythe Coleman-Mumford
  • Sierra Club: Elayne Elliott
  • Southface: Laura Case