Association of American Geographers
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AAG Council Earmarks Nearly $1 Million to Support Geographers

As the COVID-19 pandemic grew in severity, the AAG Council recognized that the work of geographers is more crucial than ever, yet the teaching and practice of geography is at risk. While the impacts to public health affect every geographer around the world, the economic impacts also threaten the institutions and businesses that support our discipline as a whole.  

In response, the AAG Council formed the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force. This group consisted of more than 60 AAG member volunteers on five subcommittees, each focused on a facet of AAG membership (i.e., students, departments, regions, members, and virtual connections) charged with developing proposals that answer this question: What can the AAG do to address the systemic crisis facing geographers and geography?

Proposals were evaluated by a Blue Ribbon Panel, composed of former AAG presidents, AAG fellows, students, and others covering a wide-ranging set of expertise and perspectives, which then recommended the most feasible and impactful projects to the AAG Council. Of the original 34 proposals, nine were chosen to receive nearly $1 million in funding. Some projects will launch immediately, while more complex plans may take longer to roll out. All will strengthen and benefit geography and provide means of support to AAG members most affected by the pandemic.

Highlights include: supporting vulnerable members with dues assistance, expanding jobs and career resources, funding new mentoring and internship opportunities, providing aid for computer equipment needed for virtual learning, and reinforcing regional and national annual meetings. Other relief will include various degrees of support for the AAG’s regional divisions, specialty and affinity groups, and academic departments. At this critical time, the AAG will continue to raise awareness of the relevance of geography to both decision-makers and to the public. 

Diversity and inclusion is a key focus when implementing these proposals. For example, the AAG will donate funds to faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities to provide their geography students with laptops, internet service, and software through its Bridging the Digital Divide project.

More details on projects will be announced as they become available.