In an effort to cultivate a stronger sense of community among the administration and students, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair invited Emory’s Class of 2020 into his Midtown home to share sweets. With the support of his family, staff, advisory committee and College Council, Nair hosted the first “Desserts with the Dean.” In prior years, Nair has hosted freshmen brunches.
“We decided to host ‘Desserts with the Dean’ to remind students that Dean Nair is actually there for us. He wants to hear what we have to say so he can push for the change we want to see,” host and College junior Ben Goldfein said. “It’s great to see people interact with him and his family; we got rid of the pressure people often feel when talking to any dean and made people feel comfortable — and that’s what’s important.”
First-year students were eager to personally meet Emory administrators in attendance, including Assistant Vice President and Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Wanda Collins, Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of Student Health Services Michael J. Huey and Assistant Vice President for Community Suzanne Onorato. Students had the opportunity to speak and socialize with Emory administrators over bubble tea, cupcakes and shaved ice catered by SunO Dessert.
“I expected a much more formal event, with a long rectangular table and a formal dining room, but this is so much better. I feel so welcomed into Dean Nair’s home with his whole family here to greet and interact with us,” College freshman Jinnie Xie said. “The desserts are great and everyone is so nice; this is really a unique opportunity.”
Students had an opportunity to mingle with not only administrators, but also peers. The desserts were a huge hit among those in attendance, helping create a relaxed environment full of treats. The goal of the event was to cultivate a stronger sense of community and family among Emory students as part of the new initiatives by the Campus Life Executive Leadership Team spearheaded by Nair, according to Onorato.
“One, [the event] gets students off campus and into the city. It’s great for students to really experience Atlanta during their time at Emory,” Nair said. “Two, it’s great for the first-year students to meet people, including student leaders, administration and their fellow students.”
Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to personally interact with Nair and his family so much they recommended that “Dessert with the Dean” become an annual event. At the event’s conclusion, students and administrators came together for a group photo and Nair delivered some parting words .
“Thank you all for coming. This has been a great experience. This is my house: you are all my family and part of the Emory family,” Nair said.