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Equity & Justice

Northwestern’s Commitment to Racial Equity and Justice

sustainNU is committed to fighting against racism, discrimination, and injustice as we work to embed sustainability throughout Northwestern operations and culture. We acknowledge that racism and other forms of discrimination permeate our society, and Universities are not exempt. We embrace Northwestern’s commitment to social justice and the leadership of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni in advocating and fighting for equity.

Learn more about Northwestern's social justice commitments.

Sustainability and Environmental Justice

Sustainability cannot be achieved in isolation. The earth’s climate crisis is inextricably linked to systemic racism, colonialism, and global economic disparities. sustainNU is committed to working for environmental justice - the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to sustainability and the environment. Northwestern University is located nearby environmental justice communities of concern, which are areas that have been systematically exposed to environmental hazards including, but not limited to, freeways and industrial facilities, a lack of tree canopy and green space, and exposure to high levels of pollution. Many of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni live in or have relationships with these communities. We are committed to fighting for environmental justice in all aspects of sustainability programming.

Learn more about environment justice issues impacting communities in the United States.

Northwestern’s Land Acknowledgement

Indigenous people have maintained a deep respect for the land, beginning long before modern environmental movements. Indigenous nations, families, and individuals continue to set examples for aligning with nature, rather than seeing land only as a resource. This respect for our natural environment is imperative to fostering a healthy, sustainable, and just world.

Northwestern is a community of learners situated within a network of historical and contemporary relationships with Native American tribes, communities, parents, students, and alumni. It is also in close proximity to an urban Native American community in Chicago and near several tribes in the Midwest. The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. It was also a site of trade, travel, gathering and healing for more than a dozen other Native tribes and is still home to over 100,000 tribal members in the state of Illinois.

It is within Northwestern's responsibility as an academic institution to disseminate knowledge about Native peoples and the institution's history with them. Consistent with the University's commitment to diversity and inclusion, Northwestern works towards building relationships with Native American communities through academic pursuits, partnerships, historical recognitions, community service and enrollment efforts.

Learn more at Northwestern's Native American and Indigenous Initiatives page.