In January 2023, Najeh Abduljalil established a new student organization at Cornell called Research for Change South Central New York. Inspired by Research for Change Nevada — where Abduljalil worked as a lead researcher before coming to Cornell — the group empowers low-income high school students in the region to examine harmful demolition practices in their own communities and come up with sustainable alternatives.
Abduljalil is working with Alisha Robbins, a fellow urban and regional studies major in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, to bring together eight to ten high school students for the project. With guidance from the Cornell students, the high schoolers will use photography and reflective interviews to collect data about local construction waste, learn about opportunities for deconstruction and reuse, and share the information with policy makers.
The team is using the Robinson-Appel Award funding on project equipment, transportation costs and stipends for the student researchers.