Once situated on the second floor of the Student Union Building, the International Student Services’ office has been moved to the Simplot Micron Advising and Success Hub to help create the Center for Global Education.
International Student Services, along with International Admissions, the Intensive English Program and Global Learning Opportunities are now situated under one roof, in an attempt to consolidate all forms of global education. This transition has caused some dissent from international students.
According to President Bob Kustra, the move was not intended to take away from International Student Services. Instead, it was simply designed to bring all global education together.
“I can’t imagine that we intended the move to, in any way, denigrate the role of the International Students’ office,” Kustra said. “To the contrary, we hired the current director of global education for the express purpose of expanding international education.”
Some international students are still feeling a sense of loss, as their office was moved from a more spacious and welcoming location, to something smaller. Now, instead of sharing a space with one department, the International Student Services’ office is contending for room with four other departments.
“It’s funny that they want us all in one place, but to do that they’re giving us a smaller space than we were in originally—even study abroad, their office was a lot bigger right downstairs in the SMASH building,” said Busayo Apampa, senior business and economics major from Lagos, Nigeria.
The new location, according to Apampa, is too crowded to offer the same experience that it once did. Before, students would sit in the lounge and converse, do homework and associate with staff members. Now that the office is a shared space, this has changed.
“It was basically just a hangout spot for people who needed to find a place on campus,” Apampa said. “Not only international students, but also some domestic students would come and meet with international students.”
The original office had an attached lounge where international students could meet new people—students and staff alike. According to Apampa, this environment is vital to new students who are seeking connections and new friendships on campus.
Gonzalo Bruce, the new assistant provost for the Center for Global Education, hopes that eventually the whole campus will serve as a safe space for international students to mingle and create relationships.
“Most of campus is moving in the direction of helping international students integrate more to the fabric of the institution, rather than having a specific space that is designed for them,” Bruce said.
Bruce sees the transition as a way to ultimately increase the internationality of Boise State. Having a strong hub for global education will aid in the recruitment of international students and allow for the University to diversify.
“It’s always a challenge to bring people to become a new team. We have a little bit of people who live in the mindset of the way we used to do it, but we really have to reinvent ourselves,” Bruce said. “That’s sort of a challenge that always comes with creating new initiatives.”
According to Apampa, the idea behind the move was noble, but the execution was flawed.
“I’m on board with the motive, but you can’t cram us in one space where students don’t even feel like they are a part of it,” Apampa said. “I’m just trying to let people understand what that space means to us—it’s a community builder, it’s where we meet our new friends, where we feel comfortable and where we feel like we’re not alone. It’s more than a physical location.”