President's Corner: ESA as a Platform
Bob Peterson, Ph.D.
May 8, 2019
I have recently finished attending the slate of ESA Branch Meetings for 2019. The highlight of the year for me so far has been attending all of the Branch meetings and visiting with so many of you. At each meeting, I was able to deliver a brief presentation, and one of the slides in my presentation had the text, “Your ESA as a platform for leadership on innovation, ideas, and advocacy.” But what do we mean by “platform”?
In 2017, I had the privilege of participating in the Science Policy Field Tour, “Balancing Pest Management and Pollinator Health,” in Mississippi. The tour was organized by our Plant-Insect Ecosystem (P-IE) Section in cooperation with Mississippi State University. During the three-day event, several participants who were not ESA members repeatedly mentioned that ESA was uniquely positioned to organize the event because it had the credibility to gather diverse stakeholders who otherwise would not get together.
At the very end of the tour, it hit me like the sting from a velvet ant: ESA can be a synergizing platform that empowers those who want to advocate, influence, invent, innovate, and lead for all things entomological. ESA itself has the clout and credibility to provide a stage where members and non-members alike can initiate and undergo transformational change.
In addition to successful field tours by our Sections in 2017 and 2018, ESA has been a platform for advocacy through our Grand Challenges summits on Aedes aegypti and invasive insect species. And the Antlion Pit Competition (subject of the last President’s Corner), is also an example of an ESA platform. That is, the pitch competition allows people to innovate in creative ways that would not be possible without sitting on the ESA platform.
Thinking about––and acting on––ESA as a platform helps us create a lasting culture of innovation at your ESA. An innovation culture leads directly to empowerment of all of our members, which in turn allows us to rethink and reshape entomology.