Peggy Barlett, the Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology and faculty liaison for the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, is receiving the 2012 Thomas Jefferson Award, the University’s premier honor for significant service to the institution through personal activities, influence and leadership.
In the early 2000s, she began serving as the sustainability point person for faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni, planting the seeds for Emory to become a nationally recognized green campus. The Piedmont Project, for example, infuses sustainability into the curriculum across disciplines, and has become a model for the country, inspiring hundreds of others.
Barlett also helped develop the Sustainability Vision for Emory, adopted by the President’s Cabinet in 2005 as a core principle of the University’s strategic plan. The vision called for an Office of Sustainability Initiatives, and laid out clear and ambitious goals to achieve by 2015. Among them: Reduce average campus energy use by 25 percent, reduce the total waste stream by 65 percent, and procure 75 percent of the food for campus dining facilities from local or sustainably grown sources.
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Emory University has received a “Gold” rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) for its leadership and innovation in university sustainability.
STARS is a self-reporting sustainability evaluation tool developed by the Association for the Advancement Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), with broad participation from the higher education community.
Emory’s evaluation by STARS was based on a comprehensive list of credits in three major areas: Education and Research, Operations, and Planning, Administration and Engagement. Based on the percentage of credits earned in these categories, universities are ranked Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze.
Of the nearly 170 schools that registered to participate in STARS, 69 have been ranked to date. Emory is one of just 14 to be rated STARS Gold, which is the highest rating achieved so far.
“The STARS system is the preeminent sustainability rating in higher education, so this ranking is significant and an important honor for Emory,” says Ciannat Howett, director of sustainability initiatives at Emory. “Each year we tackle new challenges in order to make Emory more sustainable. Recognition of Emory’s efforts and progress with this award is very gratifying.”
This year, Emory received STARS credits for a number of innovative programs such as its Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s sustainability programs, including surgical gown reuse and “sharps” container recycling. Emory also received credit for its sustainable food initiative, including the effort to preserve threatened domestic livestock breeds through Emory’s annual Thanksgiving dinner featuring heritage breeds.