Fall 2018 Bonner Congress Meeting

October 12 - 14, 2018 at Stetson University

Deland, Florida

"Grow Justice, Grow Peace"


Hosted on a campus in the Bonner Network, about 125-150 student leaders attend and represent their programs and campuses each fall. These students engage in training, discussion, networking, and planning on key initiatives that can strengthen their Bonner Programs, campus-wide engagement, and impact.


Here, you can see highlights of 2017 Bonner Congress Meeting.


This year, we are recognizing that the students who attend the Bonner Congress Meeting should be prepared to work on key strategic initiatives. The programming will focus especially on these strategic initiatives including strengthening the third and fourth year of the Bonner Program, improving the developmental training calendar, integrating capacity building and capstones. With this in mind, we encourage campus programs to be quite strategic in determining which students will attend.

This year’s Bonner Congress will involve two representatives from each of the 65 campuses in the Bonner National Network. Students who attend should be either: (1) a Bonner Senior Intern; and/or a (3) member of the campus Bonner Leadership Team; or (3) a promising student leader who can work on these initiatives (joining other leadership efforts). By attending the meeting, the students are considered representatives at the 2018 Bonner Congress. 

About Stetson and the Bonner Program

Since 2005, the Bonner Program has been a catalyst for student-led community transformation and social justice at Stetson. Bonner students work with non-profit partners, each intent on collectively and collaboratively solving challenges in our local and global community. The Bonner Program currently engages about 60 students in its developmental four-year structure. Many students serve in neighboring communities like Spring Hill. Stetson has a number of sustained, signature partners include the Boys and Girls Club, Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, and the Hope Community Center. Students also enroll in a Certificate for Community Engagement and complete capacity-building capstone projects. The Bonner Program is managed through the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which also plays the lead institutional role in directing a nationally recognized campus-wide community engagement program delivered through both curricular and co-curricular avenues. Stetson has earned the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification twice (2008, 2015) and the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction several times.

Stetson's Bonner Program selected the theme "Grow Justice, Grow Peace" for the meeting. They hope to showcase several of their key community partners and initiatives that are working on community development, including through community gardening, food, economic development, and education. At the same time, the twist (on the No Justice, No Peace) signifies the ways that Bonner Scholars and Leaders engage intentionally in communities and can promote the Common Commitments, like social justice, through their sustained work and education around issues.


One of the highlights of Bonner Congress is the opportunity for students to network with each other throughout the conference. Networking occurs over meals, during all group sessions, during elective workshops, and during strategic initiative sessions. Additionally, all group programming often features inspiring speakers, including Bonner Alumni, student keynotes, community partners, and campus leaders. Every meeting features some key national and international Bonner Partner organizations, who often share internships, post-graduate opportunities, and program models with attendees. Remember that students can submit an elective workshop proposal (about 10 will be selected nationally, with another 10 coming from Stetson and its partners, and another 10 from national partners). See the link below. Below is a working agenda.



The registration fee for campus programs for the meeting is anticipated to be $130 per student, and this covers five meals (breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, lunch on Saturday, and dinner on Friday and Saturday) and shuttle services to and from Orlando Airport.

Please observe the following guidelines when booking flights to and from Orlando International Airport. Keep in mind that if you do not follow these travel guidelines, you and your campus may need to arrange and pay for your own transportation to and from Stetson University's campus.

  • Plan to arrive on Friday, October 12 anytime before 5:30 pm, ideally by 4:00 pm. Shuttles will be arranged to depart the airport between 11:30 am and 6:30 pm. Congress dinner begins at 5:00 pm, and the Opening Session starts at 7:00 pm. If you are unable to book travel to arrive by 5:30 pm, you will need to contact the Foundation to inquire about later evening travel options. Stetson does not have a program van, so options for staff and student evening picks up will be quite limited and may involve additional costs.
  • Plan to depart on Sunday, October 14 between 2:00 pm and early evening. A large shuttle will leave campus at 11:30 am (when programming ends) and arrive at the airport around 12:45 pm. We recognize that some may need to depart the campus a bit earlier, missing the workshops. Please submit your travel times in the registration form so that we can plan accordingly. You will need to confirm arrangements with the Foundation. Remember that early morning shuttles will be quite limited. Stetson does not have a program van, so options for staff and student evening picks up will be quite limited and may involve additional costs.


DEADLINE: Friday, September 21, 2018


The 2018 Bonner Congress Meeting will include three elective workshop blocks. These blocks will be one hour long, with one on Saturday and two on Sunday morning. During these blocks, about 15 sessions will be offered. Workshops can be led and facilitated by:

  • Current Students and Staff (Bonner Scholars and Leaders or other students in attendance)
  • Bonner Alumni
  • Bonner Local, National, and International Partners
  • Other Representatives (Students, Staff, Faculty, Partners, and Friends) at Stetson

Foundation staff will review and approve workshops (on a first come, first serve basis but also ensuring a range of presenters and high quality). 

If you have questions about the design of your session, please feel free to reach out to a Foundation staff member (Ariane Hoy at ahoy@bonner.or or Liz Brandt at lbrandt@bonner.org). 

Click here to SUBMIT A WORKSHOP!

DEADLINE: Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Click to enlarge.

Please keep in mind these important details when arranging travel:

Stetson University is located in sunny DeLand, Florida. The city, home to roughly 28,000 people, is the county seat of Volusia County. It is about 35 miles north of Orlando (and a bit over an hour from the Orlando International Airport). It is a part of the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach metropolitan area, which was home to 590,289 people as of the 2010 census. Local neighborhoods served include Spring Hill, DeLand, and migrant worker communities (which grow many strawberries and ferns).


Campus representatives can also drive to the campus, especially those in a radius of 8 hours. We recommend that student leaders team up and carpool. Work with your Bonner Program Director and/or Coordinator to identify other campuses to connect with and drive. We will later add a link to a Google Document to share rides and routes. Parking on campus will be available. Specific address and driving directions can be accessed here on Stetson's website.


Orlando International Airport is 47 minutes from Stetson University's campus in DeLand, Florida. Given the distance of the airport and the traffic, the Bonner Foundation and Stetson will be arranging shuttles from Orlando to the campus on Friday afternoon and Sunday after the closing of the meeting. We are not able to arrange shuttles to all of the local airports and thus request that campus staff and students book flights through Orlando International Airport (which accommodates the most flights). Note that if you use Sanford or Daytona Airports, you will need to arrange your own transportation to the Stetson campus. 


Most students will stay on campus in the residence halls with Stetson University students, which is included in the registration fee. Some may also be placed in apartments with Bonners off campus. Since students are hosted by Stetson students (Bonners and others), housing is limited. Thus, if your program wishes to send more than two students, you must contact the Foundation first for approval (and we may need to confine such requests to special cases, like programs in the start-up phase). Students may be housed:

  • On campus with Bonner students
  • Off campus in apartments with Bonner students (upperclassmen)
  • On campus with other students (including those in Honors Residence Hall and Greek Life)
  • On campus in common space

All students will have access to (open) bathrooms and showers. Keep in mind that attending students need to bring sleeping bags and pillows, as students are not guaranteed to have a bed. Dress for the meeting is comfortable and casual.