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Social Change @ Northeastern

The Burnes Center builds on the many social impact projects taking place across Northeastern’s colleges and schools.

The Burnes Center is but one of many innovative and bold projects to promote social change and social justice across the University. We want to celebrate the broad range of social impact initiatives at Northeastern seeking to improve people’s lives.


The following is a partial list that will be regularly updated. If your work is not on this list already, we would love to include it. Please share your information by emailing us and we will be in touch with you.


Current Projects: Social Change @ Northeastern

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  • Center for Law, Information and Creativity (CLIC)

    Professor Ari Waldman

    The Center for Law, Information and Creativity (CLIC) combines the study of innovation and creativity with Northeastern University School of Law’s social justice mission. CLIC is a unique environment attracting diverse scholars, lawyers, students, creators, innovators, start-up ventures and established companies to study the regulation of intellectual property and technology with the aim of promoting progress.

  • Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration (CPIAC)

    Lucy A. Williams

    The Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration (CPIAC) takes the lead in infusing the law school’s public interest mission into all facets of the student experience. Through teaching, practice, research and networking, CPIAC seeks to enhance the role of law and legal practice in achieving social, economic, and environmental justice in all dimensions. Searching for innovative and holistic solutions to contemporary social justice challenges, we work across disciplines; we engage with academic, professional, advocacy and grassroots communities; and we develop approaches to legal education geared toward this mission.

  • Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project

    Professor Margaret Burnham

    The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice (CRRJ) Project, founded by University Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham, addresses harms resulting from the massive breakdown in law enforcement in the South from 1930 through 1970. This was a time of great political protest and turmoil as African Americans and their allies militantly rejected Jim Crow, second-class citizenship and economic exploitation.

  • Co-Lab for Data Impact

    Assistant Professor Rahul Bhargava, Assistant Professor Laura Perovich, Assistant Professor Pedro Cruz, Associate Professor Dietmar Offerhuber, Associate Professor John Wihbey

    The Co-Laboratory for Data Impact focuses on narrative data strategies and is committed to advancing civic-oriented and impactful visual storytelling for issues of public urgency in the areas of diversity, transparency, and sustainability. The lab serves as a university hub for faculty, staff, and students. Through creative practice and research, the lab contributes to the fields of design and data journalism, exploring areas such as visual poetics, metaphors, and evidentiary aesthetics. We aim to expand the vocabulary of public data storytelling by using the wellspring of a broad range of approaches: journalistic, design-centric, and artistic.

  • COVIC (Covid-19 Online Visualization Collection)

    Paul Kahn

    COVIC is a database of approximately 3,000 articles and web pages containing more than 10,000 animations, charts, diagrams, graphs, illustrations, maps with extensive metadata. Each visualizations represents a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To make the collection accessible to students, professionals, and researchers, we have developed a web-based application available at the COVIC Archive website, hosted by the Northeastern University Center for Design. We have sought to create a boundary object as a resource for the disciplines brought together in response to this event. The design of the application does not predict who will be seeking solutions by bringing their problems to this space.

  • Criminal Justice Task Force

    Professor Deborah A. Ramirez

    Through a framework of subgroups, the Task Force addresses policies and practices within the criminal justice system that disenfranchise the most vulnerable members of our society. The subgroups facilitate communication and collaboration across communities which might not otherwise get the opportunity to work together. With more than 110 members, the Task Force includes representatives from the judicial, legal and public policy communities, law enforcement and academia.

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