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Risk Management and Safety

Service-learning involves risk. However, participants can work together to manage risk and promote safe, minimal risk environments.  Here are some tools and FAQs. (Reviewed/updated by Boise State Office of Risk Management & Insurance, April 2024).

See FAQs below the “Common links”.

Common links:

Safety Tips for Students
Risk Management Steps for Instructors
Insurance Requirements for community partners

Reference: MOUs
Some SL partnerships should use MOUs to clarify expectations between BSU and community organizations. Below are two templates. Contact with questions.
MOU for remote or indirect community projects (low risk)
MOU for onsite or moderate/high risk projects

Risk Management FAQs

Note: All approved SL community partners must agree with these risk management guidelines.

What if a student is injured at the service site?

The student’s health insurance would be the primary financial resource for the students.  (All full-time students are required to carry health insurance per federal government mandate).

If the student is injured at the agency, the student could file a Workers’ Compensation claim against the agency and Boise State University. Agencies working with Service-Learning students are required to carry liability insurance to cover Service-Learning students. Some exceptions apply; contact the Service-Learning Director at 426-2380 for further information.*

What if the student causes injury or property damage to a third party (i.e. agency staff or clients?)

The damage or injury to a third party may be covered by the State of Idaho’s liability insurance if a student, faculty, or staff member acted negligently to cause the damage or injury while working within the course and scope of their Boise State University authorized, funded, and/or supervised activities.**

What if a student acts beyond the set parameters of the Service-Learning activity?

If a student or the agency in which a student is placed decides to take action inconsistent with Boise State policy and outside the scope of the Service-Learning activity, they do so entirely on their own. Therefore, the student may not be covered by Boise State’s insurance programs. The placement should be terminated if these actions seriously jeopardize the academic purpose of the placement.

NOTE: The placement of Service-Learning students in a given organization is primarily for academic purposes, and therefore does not constitute an endorsement of that organization’s principles by Boise State.

What can be done to minimize risk?

  • Faculty and agencies should spend time educating and training students of potential risks and safety procedures specific to the Service-Learning project.  See “Safety Tips for Students”  (
  • Faculty and agencies should communicate potential risks so that student participants understand and accept these risks.
  • Establish a line of communication for students to report issues to their agency supervisor.
  • Contact Risk Management & Insurance Department with higher risk activities at (208) 426-3636.

What should a student do if they are injured?

  • If it is a life threatening injury, call 911 and/or seek transportation to the nearest emergency room.
  • If it not life threatening, follow-up with student’s health care provider first or at a St. Luke’s Occupational Health Clinic. Students can also be treated by University Health Services (Norco Bldg.).
  • As soon as possible, contact the instructor, the agency supervisor, and the Service-Learning Director at (208) 426-2380. The Service-Learning Director will complete a Supervisor Accident Report and work with Risk Management.
  • Service-Learning Director will contact the Dean of Students regarding the injured student(s).

Can students drive as part of their service?

  • Students should not be expected to drive their personal vehicle other than to and from the service.
  • If driving is an essential part of the service, the agency must provide proof of vehicle and liability coverage.
  • Students cannot drive clients as part of their service-learning experience. Students may elect to drive equipment and materials (ie. for planting projects, delivering food, etc.).
  • Boise State is not responsible for students getting to and from their service site. Ideally, Service-Learning staff and faculty should provide Service-Learning opportunities within walking distance and/or along major bus routes.

* Service-Learning meets the following criteria: The University’s liability coverage, through the State of Idaho, covers all approved Boise State Practicum and student training programs, including Service-Learning, except for clinical medical training programs. (i.e. nursing, pharmacy, radiological, physical therapy, dietetics, occupational therapy, physical assistants, etc.) These State exempt Practicums are covered by Nursing’s own Boise State University Student Professional Liability Insurance policy for Clinical Medical Practicum students. Boise State faculty and staff are covered for liability through our State insurance subject to the limits of the Idaho Tort Claims Act, while working within the “course and scope” of their assigned University responsibilities. A practicum is “a course of study involving practical application of previously studied theory under supervision of the colleges or universities of the State of Idaho.”

** State Agencies are covered for third party tort liability by the State of Idaho, Department of Administration Risk Management Program. This insurance plan of liability coverage is subject to provisions of the Idaho Tort Claims Act. The limit of liability is $500,000 per occurrence. Each Agency shall be liable to the other for damage to property of the other caused by such Agency in the performance of this Service-Learning Agreement. If the damaged property (including vehicles) is covered by property or auto coverage through State of Idaho Risk Management, then Risk Management shall charge the damage or loss, including any deductible, to the responsible Agency.   Please contact Boise State’s Risk Manager (208) 426-3636.