Campus News

February 1, 2010

We Are Emory recognizes community builders

Emory is the sum of its parts, the multilayered faces of the University who cultivate and build community each day.

Emory is the graduate student in law and theology who is an activist and organizer for Students for a Free Tibet; the College junior who discovered a venue where freshmen feel comfortable talking about race; the administrative assistant who tutors adults in reading, writing and critical thinking; and the associate professor who develops cervical cancer screening programs in Peru and Nicaragua.

These “community builders” and 96 others committed to service and engaged scholarship were honored at “Diversity@Emory: Achievements and Aspirations” reception Thursday, Jan. 28. The first annual event was sponsored by Office of Community and Diversity, in collaboration with the University Senate Diversity Committee and the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services (OMPS), as part of the We Are Emory campaign.

In its inaugural year, We Are Emory is a university-wide initiative launched by the Office of Community and Diversity to build awareness about programs and initiatives dedicated to access, equity and inclusion.

“There are a great many people at Emory who do incredible work,” said Maria Town ‘09C, a fellow in the Office of Community and Diversity. “It is important for that work to be recognized so that the rest of the community is aware of the broader picture of what it means to be part of Emory.”

Thursday’s honorees were culled from a list of 250 nominees from across the University. They enjoyed a catered reception, were dazzled by student performances in hip hop, Capoeira, a capella, spoken word and traditional Indian dance, and received commemorative lapel pins and a poster featuring all 100 community builders. A photography gallery showcased students of mixed race answering the question: “What are you?,” a common conversation starter from people unsure about ethnic identity. One response: “I am a haiku, phenomena peeking through generic words.”

Among the honorees was Kate Stanley, a College senior and devout yogi who serves as an intern coordinator for OMPS’ Freshman Crossroads Retreat. Stanley studied abroad in Uganda last fall, researching conflict resolution in refugee camps.

“This award gives people who are often quieter, working behind the scenes, more of a presence,” she said. “It builds pride in Emory.”

President Jim Wagner, speaking at the event, described Emory’s progression from a tense community that avoided meaningful dialogue about race, to a University that embraces – not merely tolerates – diversity of opinion.

“We now talk about diversity in a voice that’s neither hushed nor silenced, neither shrill nor accusatory,” he said.

Looking ahead, the University Senate Diversity Committee is developing a web portal,, which will include a searchable database and calendar for the more than 60 diversity organizations on campus and in the greater community, a listing of diversity-related courses, news links and an interactive blog. The site is expected to go live in spring of 2011.

“People here are working so hard, so diligently to construct community,” said Senior Vice Provost for Community and Diversity Ozzie Harris. “It’s not about individual promise. It’s about collective promise.”

File Options

  • Print Icon Print