Center for Sustainability
Georgia Southern University

Who We Are

Dr. Lissa Leege
Center for Sustainability Director

Dr. Lissa Leege is the founding director of Georgia Southern University’s Center for Sustainability (CfS) and oversees the academic aspects of sustainability on the Georgia Southern campus. She received her PhD in Plant Ecology at Michigan State University in 1997, taught at the Ohio State University for one year and was hired in the Biology Department at Georgia Southern University in 1998, where she is currently a Professor of Biology. Her research concerns threats to rare plants, including the effects of fire and invasive species on endangered plant populations. She teaches Environmental Biology, Intro Biology, and plant-related courses. She co-authors an Environmental Science textbook – The Environment and You, now in its 3rd edition with collaborators at Duke and Cornell University. She is a graduate of the 2013 class of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership.

Under Lissa’s direction, CfS has developed a Sustainability Concentration for undergraduates and a Sustainability Advisor Certificate Program for the general public. CfS hosts a Sustainability Seminar Series, including speakers such as Dr. Steven Chu (past US Secretary of Energy and Nobel laureate), Robert Kenner (Food Inc.), Majora Carter (environmental justice), and an annual GreenFest for the local community. CfS conducts “No Impact Week” at Georgia Southern each spring with a campus-wide focus on sustainability. Since 2014, CfS has hosted a grant program through which over $1 million in student sustainability fees have been allocated to projects to improve campus sustainability. A founding member of the Georgia Campus Sustainability Network and the Savannah Sustainability Alliance, Lissa lives in Statesboro, GA with her husband and two sons ages 15 and 11.

Dr. Jay Hodgson
Center for Sustainability Coordinator, Armstrong Campus

Dr. Jay Hodgson is the first Coordinator for the Armstrong Campus. He is originally from Wisconsin, but has been living in the southeastern coastal plain since 2003 and deeply appreciates its biodiversity and picturesque landscapes. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, with an emphasis in Interdisciplinary Freshwater Studies, from The University of Alabama in 2009. Following graduation, he was hired as a Temporary Instructor of Biology at Armstrong Atlantic State University and has progressed to his current position of Associate Professor of Biology at Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus. His research focuses on aquatic ecology and predator-prey interactions, and he has also begun investigating the teaching and learning of ecology and evolution curricula. He is excited to help bring the Center for Sustainability mission to the Armstrong Campus and looks forward to working with everyone involved.

Cami SockowCami Sockow
Center for Sustainability Program Coordinator

Cami is a recent Georgia transplant from Southern Illinois, but a Michigan native. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, a town that she will always hold dear to her heart. After finishing her Bachelors in Leisure Services Management with a focus in Outdoor Recreation in 2012, she taught experiential learning in Southeastern Minnesota. She then returned to SIU and obtained her Master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Resources with a focus in Sustainability. She is happy to join the team here at Georgia Southern and hopes to make positive impacts through her position as the Program Coordinator at CfS.

Melissa Gast-Goodman
Center for Sustainability Administrative Coordinator

Melissa received both her Bachelor’s and her Master’s degrees from Georgia Southern University. She’s been employed at Georgia Southern for almost ten years. As the Administrative Coordinator, she assists with any number of activities, from budget management to ordering supplies for the various initiatives CfS offers across campuses.

Amanda (Aurora) Evans
Aurora is a Junior Biology major at Georgia Southern. She is originally from New Rochelle, NY. She was interested in sustainability from spending quality time on the farm with her grandparents in Jamaica. From there, she found interest in sustainable living and has begun the process of converting to minimalism and zero waste living. Her goal is to one day become a conservation scientist. She loves to inform others of positive solutions to protect the environment. She is happy to be a part of the CfS team here at Georgia Southern.

Caitlyn Grunert
Caitlyn received her Bachelor’s of Public Health from Lindenwood University in St. Louis, MO. She is in the Master’s of Public Health program with an Environmental concentration. Sustainability is important to her because to live the best quality of life, our environment also needs to be healthy. We are constantly interacting with the environment and if we become more environmentally conscious & sustainable, our own overall health will improve.

Bonnie Cobb
Bonnie is a 3rd year Master’s student of Biology focusing on genetic and morphological differences between coastal sparrow subspecies found wintering in Georgia. She attended the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology. Sustainability is vital to maintaining biodiversity as human expansion, also known as urbanization, leads to increased habitat loss and often a decrease in the quality of habitat surrounding developed areas. Salt marsh ecosystems are especially susceptible to the effects of pollution and erosion exacerbated by human development near coastlines.

Past Team Members

Cortney Johnson
Center for Sustainability Intern

Christina Beslin
Center for Sustainability Graduate Assistant

Scott Blair
Center for Sustainability Graduate Assistant 

Maggie Fritze
Center for Sustainability Intern

Alex Giresi
Center for Sustainability Intern

Ashe Kelly
Center for Sustainability Intern

Last updated: 3/19/2019

CENTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY (CfS) • P.O. Box 8042-1 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5895