Rebound Idaho: Boise State president discusses local business partnerships and 'enormous innovation' emerging from pandemic

Posted at 8:25 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 14:34:06-04

BOISE, Idaho — With our Rebound Idaho series, the Idaho News 6 newsroom is committed to bringing you and your family the critical information you need so we can all bounce back from these trying times together.

In this installment of Rebound Idaho, we're examining how Boise State University (BSU) leadership is working to find ways to maintain the success of the university during the pandemic.

BSU President Dr. Marlene Tromp said Tuesday that she’s been working to identify ways of keeping students staff and faculty safe — while also helping to ensure the economic resilience of the city of Boise.

Despite the pandemic, the university isn’t seeing a decline in enrollment, yet at least -- they actually saw a one percent increase this year -- but that’s not stopping Tromp from considering new practices for engaging prospective students.

“We have an event annually called Bronco Day that brings hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of students from all over the country onto the campus to explore Boise State. This year that event had to be entirely virtual in the spring. But what we learned is that thousands and thousands of students came when it was virtual, so, there was a barrier there that we weren’t even aware of that was preventing some students from engaging in that experience. And now, we’ll always do both," said Tromp.

Health and safety on campus and in the community is directly related to a successful future for the university.

“We developed a marketing campaign so to speak, called ‘We are broncos. We’ve got this covered,' to help people remember to wear masks. And our local businesses have adopted that as well," said Tromp.

With her seat on the city of Boise’s Economic Recovery Task Force, she said she fostered partnerships like these.

“We met with local bar owners and we met with local restaurant owners, and that has really, that partnership has really helped facilitate best practices," said Tromp.

Tromp says the shift to virtual brings with it some exciting potential for Boise State students to be, well, this: "Someone who participates in not just the economy financially, but as a thought leader," said Tromp.

She added, "And so I think there’s enormous innovation that was already going on, and for those who are doing it, this time just allowed that — was that wind that let the kites take flight."

Other ways BSU is hoping to keep COVID-19 cases down include hiring more public health officers, rolling out a case-tracking dashboard and having students take a pledge after watching a safety video.

Stay with us for our continuing coverage on BSU's response to the COVID-19 crisis.