Friday, April 16, 2010

The nature of an Emory education

Anna Snyder works on her laptop, amid the trees near Rich hall. Photo by Carol Clark.

“I love to study while hanging out in my hammock, because every once in a while I can stop and look up at the sky. It’s such a sane thing to do,” says Anna Snyder.

The junior ethno-musicology major carries her Skeeter Beater Pro in her backpack and strings it up during breaks between classes, in green spaces throughout campus. “All you need is two trees that are close enough together,” she says.

If it’s good weather on Earth Day, April 22, Snyder says she will definitely be enjoying some of it from her hammock. This year is the 40th anniversary of the day dedicated to raising awareness of the environment, and Emory has a lot to celebrate.

The university just adopted an ecological plan to nurture its woods and streams, including some of the best-preserved hardwood forests in the Piedmont province of the Southeast. Despite its location in bustling Atlanta, bio-diversity thrives on the Emory campus: 48 percent of the university's 700 acres is undeveloped land. (Photo of Lullwater forest, above, by Bryan Meltz.) In addition to its soaring trees, Emory stands out among U.S. campuses for its large square footage of buildings certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and its commitment to sustainability.

The new Emory Bio-Inspired Renewable Energy Center is tackling one of the biggest challenges of our era: the quest for cheap, green sources of hydrogen fuel.

Many students realize that green jobs are the future, says Ciannat Howett, Emory director of sustainability initiatives. “When our students leave Emory’s gates, they are heading into a future that none of us can fully imagine,” she says. “But this we know: they will be confronted with the most significant environmental challenge faced by any modern civilization.”

Click here for the week-long schedule of Earth Day events.

How do you plan to celebrate?

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