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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Current Projects

Since 2020, the Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Working Group has secured over $7 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation and Sloan Foundation, partnered with 10 Native nations in the Great Lakes region, integrated more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students into their research team and co-published academic articles with 27 authors, including Tribal leaders, community partners and faculty across 10 different Northwestern University departments. The group aims to expand their partnerships to three countries in Southeast Asia and South America in 2024. Current projects are detailed below.

Strengthening Resilience of Ojibwe Nations Across Generations (STRONG)

The ‘triple-bind’ of environmental justice: the phenomena where solutions intended to curb climate change exert new pressure on marginalized communities

Indigenous experiences and understanding of tribal sovereignty in the Great Lakes region

Environmental Impacts Graduate Working Group

We are an interdisciplinary group of graduate students bridging social sciences, humanities and STEM to connect and collaborate on writing, researching, and communicating work that addresses environmental challenges and impacts. This student group is supported by a faculty-led group, Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges, headed by Dr. Kimberly Marion Suiseeya and Dr. Jennifer Dunn. If you are interested in being added to our email list or attending our working group meetings, please fill out this interest survey.

As a student-led group, we are growing the community of like-minded people interested in conducting interdisciplinary work related to the environment. This graduate group is an opportunity to extend the faculty-led Working Group’s work to include graduate students also interested in research related to the Disproportionate Effects of Environmental Change. We aim to support graduate students in efforts to build new collaborations and networks within and outside the academy.

Global Engineering Trek Chile: Energy Storage & Critical Minerals

Jennifer Dunn, co-lead of the Disproportionate Impacts of Environmental Challenges Global Working Group, also co-leads the Northwestern Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience (CESR). CESR launched its inaugural Global Engineering Trek in Energy Storage & Critical Minerals in September 2023, sending a group of nine Northwestern students to Chile. As one of the world's largest lithium and copper producers, Chile is at the heart of global efforts to build green energy generation and storage systems.  During the trek, students met with mining and policy experts, toured facilities and delved into Chilean culture. Read their reflections in CESR's new blog series >>

This program is undertaken in partnership with the Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering's Global Engineering Treks Initiative and is supported in part by the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and the Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy.