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Dean Nair Updates Emory Community on Campus Life Key Initiatives

May 12, 2016

Dear Community,

It’s been a very productive year for our institution, with much accomplished across the university enterprise. Each of us as a member of the Emory community can take pride in these achievements, including graduating another class of well-prepared future leaders to serve their communities, this nation, and the world.

I write to you to share updates on several key Emory Campus Life (ECL) initiatives that have university-wide impact.

Center for the Advancement of Student Advocacy and Agency (CASA2)

Over the past several months, staff from three ECL offices – the Barkley Forum Center for Debate Education, the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion – have explored strategies for expanding cross-departmental collaboration, while continuing to support the talented teams, creative programs, and legacies of each unit and the spaces that promote inclusion. 

This work is critical given the social and political climate across our nation and on our campus – and especially given Emory’s serious commitment to social justice.

The conversations among the three offices mentioned above led to the establishment of the Center for the Advancement of Student Advocacy and Agency (CASA2). At the heart of this change are two outcomes that we want for every Emory student. 

First, we want to continue supporting a campus climate that encourages student agency. We want students to develop the skills and desire to act upon their own values, beliefs, and ideas. Moreover, we want students to develop a strong sense of self that is buttressed by a nuanced and multidimensional understanding of class, race, gender, and sexuality.

Second, we want Emory students to see themselves as advocates. We believe CASA2 will be uniquely positioned to help our students actively explore who they are and seek positive transformation in their communities and the world. Visit our website to learn more about CASA2.

While the CASA2 teams are constructed to improve the sharing of ideas, we understand that dedicated student space and focused programs such as our support of LGBT students, international students, robust leadership programs, racial identity programs, and Emory’s nationally renowned debate team, among others, are vital to serving our students. These historical spaces and offices with dedicated leadership and financial resources for targeted programs will continue to exist in CASA2 and be enhanced by its focus on teamwork and collaboration. 

Greek Life Initiative

The Greek Life Task Force (GLTF) has identified next steps and is inviting feedback from the university community. In addition, a sorority and fraternity housing review group is being convened November 2016 through May 2017 to develop recommendations regarding ECL’s housing policy and practices on the west end of campus, including Eagle Row and Peavine Creek Road. For more details, please review the FAQs.

Racial Justice Retreat

At the end of the retreat held in late February, a Next Steps Group of students, faculty, staff, and administrators from across the university was formed to develop an overall framework to implement recommendations, as well as an organizational model to ensure racial and social justice work is institutionalized for the long term at Emory. Here again, the urgency of work in this area is reflected in the racial climate nationwide and on the campus of this institution, which prioritizes social justice.

As you may know, many of the Campus Life initiatives that emerged from our students’ demands are currently being implemented. Please visit our website for updates on our progress.

Final Stages of the ECL Strategic Plan

In 2013, ECL undertook development of Strategic Plan 2015-2020: Redefining the Center. The process began with development of our current vision, mission, credo, and values by a representative committee and the Executive Leadership Team. The strategic plan overview, preamble, handbook, and template outline a simplified process that we will undertake over the summer to complete our departmental plans, which will underpin our overall plan for Emory Campus Life.

Many of you throughout the university community have participated in discussions to help broaden and clarify the concept of community of practice as it relates to ECL and strategic planning. This led to development of the preamble, which outlines the core values that underpin our strategic plan, offers a framework for a community of practice, and defines foundational terms used in the handbook.

We invite your feedback. You can share your initial thoughts via our online feedback form. By September 2016, we will have completed our ECL and departmental strategic plans to chart a path forward to positively transform our community.


As I approach the end of my fourth year at Emory, I’m proud of the numerous positive changes in Campus Life. As a community, we have produced many outstanding results and, most important, contributed in countless positive ways to enhancing the already outstanding Emory experience for our students.

I look forward to working with you to build on the extraordinary progress that Emory continues to demonstrate.

Best Wishes,

Ajay Nair
Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life