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Partner With Refugee Orgs

Boise State maintains strong partnerships with several refugee-serving organizations. Students and faculty working with refugees often seek additional tips, reference material, and project ideas. If you have additional references for this page, please contact Kara Brascia.

BSU Refugee Collaboration Team is a group of campus and community leaders who meet on a quarterly basis to promote the following goals:

  • assist refugees in rebuilding successful lives in Southwestern Idaho,
  • educate our students and our community toward these efforts, and
  • make the resources of BSU fully accessible to refugees in Idaho.

Student Resources for Working with Refugee Orgs

Student Resources from the Idaho Office of Refugees  (Review FAQ on this website before contacting refugee agencies). If you still need information, complete this information request form.

Albertson’s Library Guide for Students Working with Refugees  to find:

  • Articles, videos, and books related to refugee issues
  • Cultural backgrounds for major refugee countries of origin
  • Information on local resources for refugees
  • Recent news articles relating to refugee issues

English tutoring resources and more

Teaching Resources for Working with Refugee Orgs

Consider the following principles for creating effective assignments about/with refugee communities:

  • Design assignments that promote listening, mutuality:
    • Attend an event where refugees and community members are already sharing stories and getting to know each other (google “Neighbor Narratives Boise,” or “Refugee Speakers Bureau Boise”, “International Community Dinner Boise” or contact Kara Fink, 208-336-4222.
    • Join a conversation rather than schedule an interview. (Visit the BSU Refugee Student Alliance Facebook page for ideas
    • Observe a tutoring session or classroom (contact English Language Center to schedule a tour or observe– see contact information below).
    • Provide opportunities for collaboration. Sample Service-Learning projects with refugee communities
    Consult with refugee agencies in advance:
    • Contact the Service-Learning Program* for help connecting with refugee agencies or faculty experienced in partnering with refugees.
    • Design activities/assignments that benefit the refugees and not just the students. Ask the refugee liaison what would be useful to them, then design the assignment together.
    • Think of refugees and agencies as partners and collaborators, rather than detached research subjects. Contacting them well before the course starts is respectful of their time and their contributions.
    • Be patient and persistent with contact; these agencies are under-resourced and often responding to emergencies.
    • Consider whether an assignment you create will be a burden on refugees or refugee agencies, in terms of time, coordination, or emotional impacts. Restructure or eliminate the assignment if it is.
    Plan the assignment with these elements:
    Prepare students:


    • Promote sensitivity to cultural differences–foster curiosity about different norms, responses, and expectations.
    • See “Steps for promoting empathy” — and share your ideas
    • Prepare students through readings, videos, and discussions on the issue (see resource links below). Some ideas:
    • If you are asking students to talk with refugees, prepare them to ask safe questions, e.g. ask questions about their life now in Boise. Do not ask them about their trauma stories. Another good start is, “I would like to learn about your culture. Could you share something about…[something positive, like food and other traditions] or “What would you like me to know about your culture?” Find other good questions at
    • Assign reflective writing in which students can list their beliefs and assumptions about refugees, then debrief about the differences and similarities, strengths and assets, and positional privilege. Challenge assumptions by discussing evidence.
Consult Other Resources:

*The Service-Learning Program offers faculty individual consultations with tips for successful implementations and partnerships, even if your course is not designated as a SL course.

** Agency partners

Agency for New Americans 208-338-0033
Julie Bayard (Volunteer Coordinator)
Yasmin Aguilar,, (Community Outreach)

International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Megan Schwab, 208-344-1792

English Language Center
Steve Rainey,

Idaho Office for Refugees
Kara Fink,

Idaho Office of Refugees

Visit the Idaho Office of Refugees page (IOR)  for more information on:

And as Archbishop Tutu said,

When we see others as separate, they become a threat.  When we see others as part of us, as connected, as interdependent, then there is no challenge we cannot face –together.