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The World, Your Classroom

  • Jeep at sunset in desert

  • Photo of the African masai tribe

  • Student with member of the masai tribe

Learning in the Field

Each year, Boise State professors take students into the field to apply their learning to real-world issues, be it counting sagebrush seeds in the Boise foothills or investigating vulture decline in the African savannah. This year, raptor biology professor Marc Bechard teamed with Munir Virani, director of Africa programs for the Peregrine Fund, to do just that – the duo took 11 Boise State students to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Wildlife Reserve to study the ecology and movements of African raptors, including a vulture population that is one of the most threatened on the planet.

This is the fifth time Bechard has taught the 3-credit class. Students each study and prepare a presentation on a specific raptor species and then have the opportunity to observe that particular species in the wild.

“It’s fun when they see the bird they reported on. We all hear, “That’s my bird!” Bechard said. “I feel that it is important for Boise State students to learn about global issues.”


Giving Back in Belize

Meanwhile, students in Boise State’s Global Citizen and Social Responsibility Class have the opportunity to travel to Belize each year during Spring Break to experience another culture through service. In past years, students have taught in classrooms, and led projects like building a new school chicken coop and a new lunch room, as well as renovating a playground.

Creating Ideas on Campus That Could Change the World

A Boise State team in Dubai for the Hult Prize competition.

Team Cultivate flies the Bronco flag in Dubai.

This spring, Boise State University had three teams compete – chosen from out of more than 50,000 applications from 100 countries – at the prestigious Hult Prize regional finals competitions in Shanghai, London and Dubai for the chance to win $1 million to launch a social-justice minded enterprise. The College of Arts and Sciences team, Team Cultivate, competed in Dubai. Their business idea was called the Portable One Time Toilet (POTT), a double lined biodegradable bag used as a portable bathroom. Once used, the bag is tied off and buried, and a chemical lining composed of urea breaks down the human waste and kills off harmful bacteria, turning it into compost. Then the bag’s second layer drops seeds into the newly created compost. Within about six weeks and with a bit of water, edible food begins to grow. “We chose Dubai because of its locale and diversity – it sits close to many areas that are currently hosting refugees, and it functions as a beautiful place to mix cultures and experiences,” explained team member Luke Yeates. “It was fundamentally transformative for all of us.”


Following Your Passion, From Globe-Trotting Adventures to Boise’s Treefort Music Fest

Some of our most formative growing experiences happen at home. For lovers of music, literature, technology, food, yoga and art, Treefort Music Fest, a five-day festival that takes place each year in March, is reason enough to stay put during spring break. What began as a labor of love by several local music enthusiasts has grown into an annual celebration featuring 400-plus bands, panel discussions, readings, yoga poses, films, comedy, tasty foods and more. The festival is sponsored by Boise State University and cultivated (and populated) by many alumni and current students. Check out the Treefort website for info on bands, forts and tickets.