By Ricardo Pagulayan
Rani Nair, “Kid Dean,” is back on set getting ready to release a new video to the Emory community. She has recently been the star of several instructional videos geared towards introducing new ways of thinking to Emory students and staff.
Rani’s father, Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair, has in recent years worked hard to encourage an “open campus community” and stress the value of “the freedom of speech, inquiry, thought, and lawful assembly,” to create a constructive environment for developing capable and responsible leaders.
Rani hopes that her video can serve as a lighthearted approach to introduce and explain these substantial and important ideas.
“My dad uses some big words to describe some really complicated things,” Rani said. “I think I’m helping him with his work [because] the videos help people think about new ways of doing or understanding things.”
In her video “Kid Dean’s Guide to Campus Life,” Rani introduced a strategic plan to Emory, built on five key components: holistic well-being, ethical leadership, civic engagement, cultural humility and global citizenship. According to Rani, it is the concept of cultural humility that stands out the most for her.
“Cultural humility sticks out the most because my dad called it cultural humidity in the video. It also sticks out to me because my dad always says it is [just as] important to think about what you’re thinking, which is what cultural humility helps you do,” said Rani, not forgetting to add her own jovial comedic twist.
Rani further explains cultural humility in her video as “being concerned and caring for your community; [being] open to new ideas; reflecting on what you do; challenging yourself to be responsible and accountable, critical and respectful.”
A core motivator for Rani’s video is to push Emory’s students to take advantage of their on-campus opportunities and increase awareness on the Division of Campus Life’s projects that aim to create a more engaging community for Emory’s scholars.
“I hope I’m helping people get excited about the cool things my dad is trying to do. I also think more people will know about Emory; a lot of people seem to be watching the videos. Even my grandparents watch it!” Rani said.
Rani takes her role as the “Kid Dean” very seriously, but shooting videos has also proven to be a very fun experience for her. She hopes to release a new video every month and has her eyes set on including Emory students in her upcoming productions. She hopes that one day she might even shoot a video with the famous Lord Dooley.
According to Rani, she doesn’t do much preparation for the videos. Taking time from her own fourth grade homework load, Rani makes sure to read the scripts at least once before facing the camera. Though she loves the process of shooting videos, from choosing outfits to setting up the backdrop, Rani confided that she watches the final products only once.
“I only watch the videos once because I feel a little embarrassed because I act so silly in the videos.”
Rani appreciates her new title of “Kid Dean” because it makes her feel like a part of the Emory community: she fervently hopes to attend Emory University in the future.
“I want Emory to be my school in nine years. Let’s go class of 2027!”
– By Ricardo Pagulayan, Contributing Writer