Video Transcript – HES General Video
[Jodi Brandt, Assistant Professor: Human-Environment Systems]: HES stands for human environment systems, and so a lot of science is based on understanding the impact say of humans on water quality. So, I might study how does growing food impact water quality and that’s a very important study to do, but that’s not exactly what human environment systems science is. We kind of take a different approach of seeing the humans in the environment as part of a system. So we’re not just thinking about the impacts of humans on the environment, but we’re also thinking about how the environment responds to those human decisions and how the environment might change depending on those decisions that humans are making.
[Neil Carter, Assistant Professor: Human-Environment Systems]: The biggest reason I came here was because of the HES Center that was established. It’s one of the few places in the world, frankly, and certainly in the in the nation, that focuses explicitly on human environment systems interactions, bringing the social together with the environmental or ecological sciences. And that’s very hard to do and a lot of universities still have a traditional disciplinary departmental set up, and so this is really unique and really great that they have the center that focuses on those interactions and are providing resources and expertise and support for the development of the center to address what I think are some of the most pressing environmental and sustainability challenges.
[Mark Rudin, Vice President for Research & Economic Development]: HES allows us to bring those faculty members under one umbrella, essentially a department type of environment where these folks, even though they’re from different disciplines, are in the same department with the same mission and really pursuing these research opportunities and teaching opportunities collectively as a group. Whether you’re the social scientist or the physical scientist, you’re in the same department pursuing all on the same page moving that ship forward.
[Jodi Brandt]: We connect with farmers, we connect with policymakers, we connect with a people who live in the city and use trails and we tell them about our results and we get back from them what they care about and what their thoughts are on what they want the future of the Treasure Valley to be. Right now we have a survey team of four people and they’re going to all parts of the Treasure Valley and we have a survey that asks people “What do you care about? Do you care about air quality? Do you care about agricultural land use? Do you care about floating in the Boise River?” We want everybody’s opinions and everybody’s input as to what are the things in the Treasure Valley that’s important to them and what things they really want decision-makers to make sure that we don’t lose here.
[Nancy Glenn, Director: Human-Environment Systems]:The HES platform, or the human environment systems group, is being developed in the College of Innovation & Design, which provides us the opportunity for creativity, encouraging diverse perspectives, and bringing methods and processes from a variety of different disciplines to the table to see what is the best solution for complex problems in today’s world.
[Alex Killion, Student: Human-Environment Systems]: What HES offered here at Boise State was a chance to interact with great researchers that really appreciated the interdisciplinary focus and really pushed you and supported you to answer some of these questions. So coming in, I didn’t have a real great background in some of these policy pieces or social sciences, but I was interested in them and I knew how important they were. And what HES offered was an opportunity to really dive into that sort of specific training and then to apply it to these other ecology-focused questions.
[Neil Carter]: I think that there are a lot of students that are really concerned with doing work that makes a difference to communities and they’re having a hard time finding programs that give them the training to do those types of things. They can learn a lot about ecology, but they still want to do something that affects some communities. They can learn a lot about policies and institutions, but they want to do something that affects wildlife biodiversity and those kinds. So the center, the Human-Environment Systems Center, is that place where I think students have the best opportunity to come and get those skill sets that are technically, intellectually stimulating but also feel like “Hey, I’m making a difference and this is fun and exciting.”
[Mark Rudin]: We’re in the process now of institutionalizing HES and taking that investment that the state and NSF has made in Boise State and really creating something long-term and sustainable in terms of advancing research and teaching in this whole climate change area.
[Nancy Glenn]: And when we think about some of the funding agencies and some of the recognized science problems that those funding agencies have identified, they do require multiple disciplines, they do require expertise from multiple disciplines, so I think that Boise State and the Human-Environment Systems Group is very well positioned to be competitive nationally and internationally with these funding agencies.
[Jodi Brandt]: My main goal as a faculty and as a scientist is to create useful information that people can use to make the environment better and to make their lives better.