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Haley Neill, Seth Hayes-Fugal, Bryan Schell, Hanna Veal, Emma Hill, Dr. Samia Islam

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The purpose of our undergraduate service learning research project is to help identify effective ways of promoting greater engagement between Boise State students and the City of Boise. Boise State is a metropolitan university and its students are an important demographic for Boise City. The city has been placing more emphasis on increasing public engagement, however, student engagement and interaction with the City has remained low. As a service learning project, our research team compiled data on student opinions and preferences on Boise’s outreach to help shed light on what factors influence citizen engagement, especially the young, college-age cohort.

Data Methodology

We conducted a survey to determine how the City of Boise can better encourage Boise State students to participate in city matters. The survey included twelve yes/no, multiple choice, and short answer questions, five of which are highlighted here. The survey questions were designed to extract information from the respondents on their perceptions and outlook on the City of Boise’s outreach efforts.

Respondents: 55 total

  • 47 individuals were 18-23 years old
  • 4 individuals were 24-29 years old
  • 2 individuals were 30-39 years old
  • 1 individual was 50-59 years old
  • 1 individual was 60+


Our survey collected 55 responses on twelve questions, five of which are highlighted here. To best represent the goals of this survey, we have only included responses from individuals between the ages of 18 and 23.

Figure 1 – Part of City or BSU

Do you feel like you’re part of the city, or just part of BSU?

Pie chart - 53% part of BSU, 47% part of city
Figure 1

More than half of respondents (53%) feel they are just part of BSU, and not the City of Boise as a whole. This finding lends credence to Boise City’s concern over Boise State students not identifying as the City’s constituents.

Figure 2 – Reaching Out

Do you feel like the City of Boise does a good job reaching out to Boise State University students?

Pie chart - 70% no, 26% yes, 4% no response
Figure 2

Seventy percent of respondents between the age of 18 – 23 do not feel the city does a good job reaching out to Boise State University students.

Figure 3 – Changes for Engagement

What could the City of Boise do better, differently, or more of, to engage with BSU students?

Bar chart - 47% presence/outreach, 21% events promotion, 17% student benefits, 11% more partnering with BSU, 26% student specific meeting
Figure 3

Nearly half of the respondents said increased outreach and presence on campus would improve student engagement.

Figure 4 – On or Off Campus Events

Would you prefer an on-campus event or off-campus event?

Pie chart - 72% on campus, 17% no response, 11% off campus
Figure 4

A large majority of student respondents said they would prefer the city hold on-campus events to best reach them.

Figure 5 – Topics

What issues or matters would cause you to attend, or what topics would you like to discuss in a meeting with the city?

bar chart - 38.3% transportation, 65.96% Housing, 48.94% Environment, 46.81% parking tickets, 27.66% city services
Figure 5

Respondents listed housing as the primary topic they would like to discuss with the city, followed by the environment and parking tickets.


Based on the results of the survey, we believe that these recommendations will help the City of Boise better engage and communicate with the local student population:

  • Organize more on-campus meet and greets with students.
  • Organize meetings and other city events in the Student Union Building at Boise State.
  • Organize panels and/or open houses for students to come forward and voice their opinions on city issues that concern them, e.g., housing (availability / affordability).
  • Maintain active social media accounts specifically for community and political involvement.
    More outreach towards students so they are aware of events and meetings organized by the City of Boise.
  • Last but not least, student survey respondents mentioned that free refreshments are a great incentive for them to attend events.


  • Dr. Samia Islam, Associate Professor, Department of Economics.
  • Mike Sherack, Sr. Budget Analyst, The City of Boise.
  • Lana Graybeal, Community Engagement, The City of Boise.
  • Survey Participants