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Why we need to advertise for environmental science and policy

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By Mark Lubell - Posted on 09 January 2014

We just had the great opportunity to place an advertisement for the Department of Environmental Science and Policy into my favorite newspaper, High Country News. The picture on this blog is the actual advertisement. Although we made a couple of mistakes getting it together, it was fun to work on a deadline with an organization where getting something done means getting it done, right now!

I think it is important to try to reach out to a general audience to get them more involved in environmental science and policy, and get the best students into our undergraduate and graduate programs. A couple of things that I think people fail to remember when doing this. First, you have to make these ads cool and attractive. Do not think like an academic when you put these ads together. Drop the jargon and worrying about whether you are defining some particular term in a scientifically accurate manner. Think about what makes the science exciting and interesting, a fun place to be. You are trying to get people in the door, not train them in methods. Once they are in the door, you can train them to think scientifically about whatever topics in which they are interested. Second, for undergrads in particular, I don't think it matters if the prospective students themselves read these ads. In fact, I'm guessing they rarely do. But their parents are probably reading High Country News, and hopefully their academic advisers. As a student of social networks, the key to reaching a community is to influence the influencers.