Skip Navigation

Nair's CLASS Awards Speech Praises Staff for Four Years of Achievements

May 10, 2016

Greetings Emory Campus Life Community,

Four years later, I am in my “senior year”– with Emory – but nowhere near ready to graduate.

We are doing pioneering work, taking risks, pushing forward with an ambitious agenda to ensure that every student feels a sense of belonging and can leave their footprint on the campus community and the world.

In just four years, here are some of the things you have accomplished:

In the past four years, you have built many new programs and services focusing on identity affirmation and intersectionality.

We have an Office of Student Success Programs and a Student Intervention Services (SIS) Team.

We have staff members dedicated to developing and delivering communications to keep us informed and enhance the ECL image.   

We have more visibility as a student affairs operation locally and nationally than ever before. And although it feels like we are always catching up, we are in fact leading the way on racial justice nationally.

We have a new vision, mission, and credo.

We have new Late-Night Programs through the DUC.

We have Weeks of Welcome Orientation.

We have a new Open Expression Policy.

We have an Emory Student Affairs Institute.

Over the past four years, the Career Center has experienced: 

We have Creating Emory.

We have new residence halls. And our housing customer service has become a point of pride.    

In the past four years, our engagement with faculty has increased dramatically. And we have a faculty director for academic engagement.

Our Bookstore has new and improved student spaces. And trade sales are up 14 percent from last year, which is remarkable given the state of bookstores across the country.

We’ve entered the mobile tech world with force, increasing Campus Life mobile devices by more than 30 percent. Fifty percent of our tech support requests are done remotely now, including pushing software, virus protection, and other services leading to greater efficiency.  

Dining is great. We have food trucks on campus. We have a food pantry for low-income students. We have local, sustainable, low cost, tasty dining options around campus – Kaldi’s, Mama Tiger, Highlander Bakery, and Twisted Taco to name a few.

We have the Respect Program and RespectCon.

We have new sexual violence prevention strategies.

We have Flourish Emory.

We have a Title IX Coordinator.

And over the past four years, our CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) staff have continued to respond to rising clinical demands and also engaged in innovative outreach efforts. 

And, yes, we have Beowulf!    

Student Health Services has had two successful national accreditations. Through primary care, women’s health, psychiatry, nutrition, and nursing services, our student health team has seen 80,000 individual student/patient visits over the past four years. And, today, we have an HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis clinic for Emory students.

We are at an all-time high in terms of internal hires and promotions. We have experienced an eight percent increase in staff of color over the past four years. Our Executive Leadership Team and Senior Staff are more diverse. And nearly half of all of our staff members are people of color.

Learning and Innovation has been a key focus and has a dedicated position – from hot topics to potlucks to a different approach with ECL meetings.

We have administrative fellowships and mentors. We are a learning community. We are building community more than ever. And we have more collaboration among our 24 ECL departments than ever.

We have a: 

We have a campus life council to help us engage parents, families, and alumni.

We have the Eagle Speaks program to promote debate and dialogue .

We have moved from one development officer to a fundraising team – focusing on athletics, parents and families, and alumni. This has translated into a 400 percent increase in giving in the past few years.

And, amazingly, the list goes on and on. In the next four years, we will undergo another transformation through realizing another set of dreams. Imagine a: 

In January 2017, we will begin construction of a new Campus Life Center.

Next fall, we will open a new Campus Life Pavilion across from the baseball field. 

I dream of a west end of campus where – by 2020 – Greek Life is thriving and opportunities for non-Greeks will also flourish.

In the next four years, we can also dream about: 

We can dream about an endowed student experience fund that allows all students to access key programs and services on our campus.

We will work towards developing a Campus Life staff that better reflects the diversity of our students.

We can dream about all levels of our organization offering more opportunities for professional mobility, a world-class onboarding program for our new staff, and a world-class professional development program for all our staff.

I hope to see enhanced work with graduate and professional students.

And we will continue to enhance our civic engagement and service learning opportunities for all students.

And we can dream about a campus community where students arrive knowing they may be offended, knowing they will be challenged, and knowing they will be uncomfortable at times. But, also, it will be a campus community that simultaneously offers safe spaces from which students can emerge ready to engage in these difficult dialogues – a community that continues to challenge and support students.

We will continue to affirm identity through existing programs, spaces, and services – but also heighten our ability to cross boundaries.

We will practice community by enacting shared values, passions, concerns, and commitments.

Campus Life will be highly coordinated in its efforts – and will model for students what it means to build bridges and partnerships, a campus community that is more forgiving.

Ours will be an environment where we can be our authentic selves, where communication and transparency are stronger, where trust is built through active listening and relationship building, and though shared goals and values

By 2020, we will have a completed strategic plan that leads us to achieve the vision we set forth 2 years ago.

Our vision statement reads:

Emory Campus Life, a community recognized internationally for advancing education into action and delivering world-class programs and services, promotes a healthy and sustainable environment where students live what they learn and learn what they live for self and society. Emory Campus Life catalyzes a distinctive, caring, inquiry-driven, ethically engaged, polycultural, and socially just community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, families, and visitors that imagine and lead positive transformation in the world.

By 2020, we will transform this vision into reality. But for now, in 2016, let’s celebrate that we are still embracing our passion and “unleashing our potential” – as the Greatest Show on Earth.    

Congratulations to all of you!