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Waw-jashk Student & Alumni Awards


Campus Inclusion & Community recognizes that it is grounded in a rich history of student activism. This idea also reminds us of those who lived on this land before and those whose courageous acts of critical hope are the foundations on which Campus Inclusion & Community was built. 

In May 2018, Campus Inclusion and Community launched the Jazzy Johnson Waw-jashk Student Award and Adam Karr Waw-jashk Alumni Award with the approval and blessing of the Citizen Potawatami Nation and the Pokagon Potawatami Nation. 

Waw-jashk Meaning

The word Waw-jashk comes from the Potawatomi tribe, a nation whose land our campus and office sits upon today.  The direct translation of waw-jashk means Muskrat, which is a small, tenacious, and humble creature. Despite its size and seeming lack of strength (in numerous local indigenous tribes), the Muskrat is known for its courage and the crucial role that it played in the creation of these Nations.

The unlikely muskrat made the ultimate sacrifice and without its contribution, the survival and longevity of the Potawatomi and other indigenous tribes would have been at stake. 

About the Award

In recognition of each honoree’s impact on Northwestern’s campus, they will receive a hand crafted birch medicine box engraved with the award and recipient name.

Campus Inclusion & Community chose birch to honor the rich significance birch holds for many local native and indigenous communities. Additionally, birch is known for its flexibility and resilience and is symbolic of new beginnings, hope, and “the promise of what is to come.”

Inside each medicine box is four sacred medicines, including tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweet grass, as well as information on the benefits and uses of each medicine. These teachings come from the Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes Region and were provided to Campus Inclusion and Community by the American Indian Health Services of Chicago.

Timeline of Award Process 

Submitting a Nomination 

Nominations can be submitted via a short 1-2 minute audio clip here. Each video nomination should address the key thoughts above. For an example of a audio nomination, click here

Nominations for alumni must also include contact information for a reference and a letter of recommendation from within the community or organization. 


The Jazzy Johnson Waw-jashk Student and Adam Karr Waw-jashk Alumni Awards are a year-long process, highlighted below. 

Jazzy Johnson Waw-Jashk Student Award

Honorees will receive their awards in their respective communities throughout the spring quarter. 

Adam Karr Waw-Jashk Alumni Award


Questions about nominations and the award process can be directed to Campus Inclusion and Community at inclusion@