The motto “Everybody, Everyday!” captures the idea that community engagement should not be the work of only a few on campus but part of all students, staff, and faculty members‘ experience.
Our vision is that campuses build a culture of service. We believe that the resources of a college and university — students, faculty, intellectual resources, social capital, and even financial resources — can be leveraged to build the capacity of organizations and communities, contributing to their well-being and health.
Examples of Building Cultures of Service
Building Civic Infrastructure and Centers
As part of the Bonner model, campuses that build Bonner Programs also aim to create a campus-wide infrastructure for engagement. Operationally, this involves creating a formalized center or office, as well as a staffing infrastructure, to build and manage campus-community partnerships and the work of not only Bonner students but others on campus. The Bonner Foundation and Bonner Program model helps campuses build and grow their center that will help facilitate these partnerships.
Historically, the Bonner Foundation also provided funding to programs for these efforts. To date, the Bonner Foundation has endowed 32 institutions (with gifts ranging between $500K and $5 million) and the campuses invest and manage these funds, drawing on them to support the operations of campus-wide centers.
Student leadership is at the center of our model. Students play large roles in building and sustaining community engagement and Bonner Program activities. See Student Leadership.
Bonner Programs and students work on a whole array of issues — most prominently, education, school readiness, school success, youth development, homelessness, hunger, the environment, and health. While students are most directly involved in community service efforts, they are also making connections to their academic study, participating in community-based participatory research and service-learning, conducting policy research and analysis, and finding other ways to systematically address issues— engaging their peers, professors, and other resources of the campus and community in the process.
Week-to-week, Bonner students are out in the community working on projects. Yet, the model also seeks to systematically engage faculty. Because a core purpose of higher educational institutions is to educate students, we also believe that for civic and community engagement to truly be sustained, broad, and deep, it must include links to the curriculum. Since its founding, the Bonner Foundation has been creating innovative ways to foster faculty engagement. Efforts such as our Community-Based Research Initiative, Civic Engagement Minor and Certificate model, and High-Impact Initiative are examples of such efforts to link community engagement and the curriculum.
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