Catalyze – one of several Division of Campus Life key concepts for the year – is described as “compelling one to significant action.” The concept applies to hundreds of Emory students whose response to the widening social and intellectual awareness of a liberal arts education is to take “significant action” that makes a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
Naomi Maisel, a junior with a double major in anthropology and human health, is one of many Emory students who exemplify the concept. She feels compelled to a range of actions that have touched lives from the organic farm in Latin America where she worked last summer raising and harvesting fruits and vegetables to the Emory campus where she writes for The Emory Wheel, serves as a Volunteer Emory director, and founded the university’s affiliate of The Campus Kitchens Project.
Campus Kitchens is a nationwide initiative that partners with more than 40 high schools, colleges, and universities to pick up unused, good-quality food from dining and catering facilities on campuses and from restaurants and other locations in the community to provide meals to nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry.
Maisel’s message to other Emory students is that we all can be catalysts who make a difference. “My hope is that we remember what a privilege it is to have as much food as we have,” she said. “And each of us should understand that we have a responsibility to address some area of social need and become catalysts in the lives of others as well as our own.”
Emory’s Campus Kitchens project and its founder will be featured in an Emory News Center story in early November.
On a humorous note, Maisel – who would much rather get the job done than receive fanfare for doing it – reportedly is nonetheless delighted to be recognized by Campus Life’s Kid Dean Rani Nair, nine-year-old daughter of (real) Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair. With “catalyze” as the key concept for October, Dean Rani officially designated Maisel as the first “Dean’s Definer of the Month.”
In addition to receiving a medal, Maisel was accorded a cameo appearance in Kid Dean’s Definition of the Month video presentation. Asked to explain the award criteria and how Maisel was selected for such coveted recognition on a campus with so many “catalyzed and catalyzing” students, Kid Dean Rani reflected for several moments, shrugged, and said: “Naomi is awesome.”