The primary objectives of the Sustainable RIVER project are to create student scientists who will become leaders in
interdisciplinary research and leaders in creating a more sustainable society through their appreciation of
using a multi-perspective, systems-thinking approach to understanding and addressing challenges.
This REU Site award to the University of South Dakota, located in Vermillion, SD, will support the training of 10 students for 11 weeks during the summers of 2017-2019. The dates for 2017 are 30 May through 11 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.
It is anticipated that a total of thirty students will be trained in the program. 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.