Boise State has been developing ways to get involved with refugee resettlement.
In order to help refugees adapt to living in a new home, the Boise community has created an outreach response.
One statistic from the Idaho Office for Refugees‘ Website, shows refugee resettlement as a prime concern
“In 2012, 686 refugees and special immigrants arrived in Idaho from 20 different
Boise Mayor David H. Bieter wrote a newsletter specifically about this refugee concern that was published on the Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Website.
In the newsletter, Mayor Bieter mentioned the plan created by the City of Boise and the Idaho Office for Refugees—called the Refugee Resource Strategic Community Plan. It focuses on helping the resettlement of refugees in Boise.
“Critical to the planning process was the trust and commitment of the resettlement agencies,” Mayor
Among these resettlement agencies are the Idaho Office for Refugees, International Refugee Committee (IRC) and Agency for New
Boise State is not a bystander in the community refugee resettlement commitment. Through Boise State’s Service-Learning program, students and faculty partner with resettlement agencies to help refugees.
In 2009, Boise State signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Mountain States Group– a part of the Idaho Office for Refugees—solidifying a partnership to help “refugees rebuild successful lives in Southwestern Idaho.”
The team created through the MOA is called the Campus Community Refugee Collaboration Team (refugee collaboration team). The team meets regularly to discuss opportunities for students to engage in the Boise refugee community.
“What started in 2009 was a big, campus-wide thing that actually came from the provost office…that was bigger than us,” Kara Brascia, director of Service-Learning said.
Brascia explained that Service-Learning has taken responsibility for achieving the goals of the MOA.
Recently, the Refugee Collaboration Team hosted a panel at Boise State. The intention was to encourage a relationship between staff and faculty and partnering refugee resettlement
Assistant Director for Faculty and Community Engagement for Service-Learning Faith Beyer Hansen, Ed. D., said the panel was “well-received, and we hope to do something like that again.”
One topic discussed by the panel was how to best use the skills and expertise of the students at the resettlement agencies. One particular Service-Learning program that bridges the gap between Boise State students and refugee agencies is the SL2 program. This allows students to take work-study positions in refugee resettlement agencies.
Brascia called these SL2 participants, “on-site assistant volunteer coordinators” for refugee agencies.
One of these SL2 students is junior international relations major KaliKai
“I’m a liaison between BSU and IRC, helping them in any way I can to integrate into the community,” DeClements said. “As an SL2, you’re involved in the entire organization, and you get to see all the different aspects of it so it’s more in-depth when you’re an SL2.”
This SL2 program is only one part of an extensive refugee partnership at
In the MOA, one of the goals is to connect Boise State with the community plan referred to by Mayor Bieter in his newsletter. Boise State hopes to connect student and faculty research with the broad Boise community plan.
DeClements found the essence of these Service-Learning goals in a student she had last semester.
“She was amazing in her efforts. She was working on ways to provide resources to refugees in the community…she created an entire list and then was able to help refugees know about those resources,” DeClements said. “That was the epitome of what a Service-Learning student is—you get passionate about something, you get involved in it and you, just go for it.”