Objective of the Sustainable RIVER Project:
Create student scientists who will become leaders in interdisciplinary research and leaders in creating a more sustainable society through their appreciation of multi-perspective, systems-thinking approach to understanding and addressing challenges.
The REU Site awarded to the University of South Dakota, located in Vermillion, SD, will support the training of 11 students for 10 weeks during the summer. The dates for 2019 are 28 May through 2 August. REU students participating in the Sustainable RIVER project will examine the functioning and management of the Missouri River as a lens through which to study complex, interdisciplinary systems. Through individual research projects with faculty mentors from USD's multi-disciplinary Missouri River Institute, students will address the question of how invasive elements in the Missouri River and its uplands affect the sustainability of the river and the humans who depend on it. Students will also meet as a team weekly to integrate their knowledge gained from the individual projects to create a team project to address the question of how we can cultivate a more resilient Missouri River that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders and sustains diverse, functioning ecosystems.
Active recruitment efforts will focus on Native American students, students in sustainability programs across the US, and students attending 2- and 4-year institutions in South Dakota. There will be an explicit focus in the Sustainable RIVER project on the critical pedagogy of place, where students learn how to live sustainably in places that have been disrupted while learning to recognize and address the causes of such disruptions. The Sustainable RIVER project will create student scientists who will become leaders in interdisciplinary research and leaders in creating a more sustainable society through their development of a multi-perspective, systems-thinking approach to understanding and addressing complex challenges.