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November 12, 2001

Task force looks to green Emory

By Michael Terrazas


Last spring, after a lengthy discussion that stretched to every corner of the University, Emory formally adopted an Environmental Mission Statement to crystallize its relationship with all things environmental. Now the time has come to put those ideals into action.

The job of determining how this can be done falls to a 20-member implementation task force, recruited and charged by President Bill Chace, that recently began its work in earnest. Chaired by Erick Gaither, senior associate vice president for business management, the task force has the daunting task of converting somewhat amorphous ideas into concrete structures and guidelines.

“Everyone on the task force takes this very seriously,” Gaither said. “We’ve rolled up our sleeves and started to work.”

To date, the task force has formed three subcommittees: the first will determine what sort of resources the task force needs to do its work and is chaired by Senior Vice Provost Charlotte Johnson; the second will catalog Emory’s existing environmental programs and policies, and it is chaired by law Professor William Buzbee; and the third subcommittee will look at the best practices of other institutions to determine what ideas might work well at Emory.

This last subcommittee is chaired by anthropology Professor Peggy Barlett, who was instrumental last year in guiding the Environmental Mission Statement—available in its entirety at—through the various campus channels before it was approved by the University Senate in March.

“The task force is very diverse,” Barlett said, referring to its broad membership of faculty, staff, administrators and students. “But we all feel a lot of satisfaction with the broad range of participants. I’ve been very pleased with how much I’ve learned in just the two business meetings we’ve had.”

Gaither also praised the breadth of the task force and said the initial gatherings were devoted to bringing everyone up to speed on environmental challenges facing not only Emory but the entire Atlanta area.

Still, there is not much time for background—Chace’s charge to the task force was to report back with a plan of action within six to eight months.

“Everybody on the task force feels the pressure of time,” Barlett said. “We want to get something done this year. We don’t want it to sort of fall through the cracks by lasting too long, so we’re all working hard.”


Back to Emory Report November 12, 2001