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Emory Campus Kitchens Founder Exemplifies "Catalyze"

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.” 

For more information on the award and Dean Rani’s videos on key concept definitions of the month, visit the Emory Kid Dean Facebook page or YouTube playlist.

Statement from Dean Ajay Nair

Dear Members of the Emory Community,

The university administration was recently made aware of allegations that a bias incident occurred at Monday’s intramural flag football game between the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Fraternity and another team comprised of Emory students. Witnesses allege that during the game, AEPi’s opposing team was subjected to behavior that violated our community principles of inclusivity, openness, and respect.

The university has undertaken a full investigation of the incident in accordance with our Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy. In addition, the Division of Campus Life is reaching out to the students who were targets of the alleged bias, and we are working with the fraternity’s leadership and witnesses to identify the individuals responsible.

Incidents like this are a reminder that each of us is vulnerable to the nefarious acts of a few. Whether these acts are sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, or anti-Semitic, we cannot and will not tolerate harassment of any individual or group. We share the indignation and disappointment already conveyed by many members of the university community. Such expressions of bias are offenses against both the intended victims and our entire university family.


Ajay Nair
Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life

Available Resources

Office of International Student Life
Dobbs University Center, Suite E228

Office of Multicultural Programs and Services
Dobbs University Center, Suite E207

Counseling and Psychological Services
1462 Clifton Road, Suite 235

Bias Incident Reporting Process