UNC-Charlotte's Tamara Johnson Honored as 'Emerging Leader'

Tamara Johnson is the 2018 Civic Engagement Professional of the Year – Emerging Leader Award recipient, as presented by North Carolina Campus Compact.

The 2018 Civic Engagement Professionals of the Year: Tamara Johnson (left) of UNC Charlotte and Charlotte Williams (right) of Lenoir-Rhyne University.

This award recognizes a higher education administrator in the state who works to realize a campus-wide vision of service, supports the engagement of faculty and students and forms innovative campus-community partnerships. The “emerging leader” distinction is for an honoree who has been at the campus for five years or less.

Johnson, research associate for academic planning and analysis in the Provost’s Office, has shaped the University’s civic engagement landscape and mapped new pathways that connect students and community.

She is the coordinator of the University’s Campus Compact working group, which seeks to expand community-based learning. In 2015, she helped established UNC Charlotte’s biennial Engaged Scholarship and Community Partnership Symposium, an occasion for cross-disciplinary collaboration and sharing best practices. She led committees that organized campus-community gatherings around key local issues: Hunger in Charlotte in 2016 and Housing Affordability in 2017. Last fall, she supported a student-led project to bring Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to campus for a conversation with students about police-involved shootings.

Currently, Johnson lead UNC Charlotte’s Civic Action Plan Committee. The group created a set of strategic initiatives that align teaching, research and service around an urgent community need: economic mobility. 

“Tamara acts in ways that catalyze change by serving as the momentum and connection in a system that is decentralized and prone to silos,” said UNC Charlotte Provost Joan Lorden.

Johnson, who is committed to student engagement, has chaired the 49er Democracy Experience, a group of students who engage their peers in elections. While students carry out voter engagement activities, Johnson amplifies their work by brokering partnerships with Residence Life, Athletics and other campus departments. Their collective efforts engaged hundreds of student voters and helped UNC Charlotte be recognized as a “Voter Friendly Campus” in 2016.

  Founding class of Bonner Leaders at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte.

Founding class of Bonner Leaders at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte.

Working with colleagues in the Dean of Students Office, Johnson co-founded and co-leads UNC Charlotte’s Bonner Leaders program, which welcomed its first cohort in fall 2016. A four-year campus-community collaboration that uses federal work-study funds to subsidize public service, the program places students at local nonprofit partners.  [Read more on UNCC's Bonner Leader Program start-up here.]

One Bonner Leader, whom Johnson invited to serve on the Civic Action Plan Committee, said Johnson is “willing to lift others up and guide them toward a path of success.

“By literally offering me a seat at the table, Dr. Johnson helped grow my understanding of how change is made and what needs to be changed in our community.”

Johnson also teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the Global Studies Department. In 2015 and 2016, she led summer study abroad trips to Cape Town, South Africa, where she once served as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in geography and international studies from UNC Chapel Hill, where she later completed a doctorate in geography.

North Carolina Campus Compact will recognize Johnson at its annual Presidents Forum, hosted by Meredith College in Raleigh. More than 30 presidents and chancellors will attend the one-day event, along with other college and university administrators.

The forum will include keynote remarks by Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, and Matthew Hartley, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania. Attendees will participate in a facilitated discussion that examines the role of campuses in fostering free speech and civility.

See also announcement on North Carolina Campus Compact's website.

Stetson Hatters Against Homelessness

July 15, 2018 - by Rick de Yampert

Note: This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of Stetson University Magazine — the Adventure and Discovery Issue (in mailboxes soon).

 

Members of the Stetson community helped to establish The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, which serves the area’s homeless.

Before George Winston became a world-famous pianist known for his mellow, melodic instrumentals, he was a sociology student at Stetson from 1967 to 1970.

Winston was, he confessed, “really studying music all the time, more than regular school,” and he would “sneak into Elizabeth Hall” at 3 a.m. to play its majestic pipe organ.

The musician behind such acclaimed albums as “December” and “Winter Into Spring” also did get some real-world sociology experience during his Hatter days.

“The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia was started by Nora Hagman in the late ’60s, and I was one of the volunteers,” Winston said.

The center’s mission, according to its website at neighborhoodcenterwv.org, is “to serve the homeless, feed the hungry and prevent homelessness in DeLand and West Volusia County.”

“We’d find people out in the sticks and deliver cardboard boxes full of food,” Winston recalled in February prior to his concert on the Stetson campus.

Roads, such as they were decades ago, would become impassable “and finally we’d walk half a mile with the boxes. You couldn’t get a car all the way to the houses.”

Call it part of Winston’s own personal journey.

BECOMING ‘CONNECTED’ 

Members of the Stetson community helped to establish The Neighborhood Center, affirmed Amber Finnicum-Simmons ’16, community impact coordinator at Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement. “Not to say that Stetson gets all the credit, but there were faculty and staff who worked hard,” she noted, citing that Gary Maris, Ph.D., former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was among the initial founders.

  Amber Finnicum-Simmons ’16, community impact coordinator at Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement

Amber Finnicum-Simmons ’16, community impact coordinator at Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement

Notably, before joining the Center for Community Engagement, Finnicum-Simmons was a Bonner student who began volunteering at The Neighborhood Center in 2012 and has been “connected to them ever since,” she said. Now, she’s also pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Stetson and recently completed a three-year term on The Neighborhood Center’s board of directors.

Homelessness has been part of her journey, too.

Today, nearly a half-century since initial involvement, the Stetson community’s efforts to combat homelessness have expanded dramatically. Those efforts range from face-to-face encounters while serving the homeless at The Neighborhood Center — located just one mile south of Stetson’s campus — to face-to-face policy discussions in Washington, D.C., with legislators and staffers at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Other Stetson activities include food, furniture and vital-equipment donations to The Neighborhood Center, a book drive for children at shelters, an annual conference on poverty and homelessness, a pending study of how local law enforcement interacts with the homeless and more.

Winston, by the way, continues to support The Neighborhood Center through food drives and proceeds from CD and merchandise sales whenever he returns to perform at Stetson. His concerts at the university are “always a benefit” for the center, as well as Stetson’s School of Music Scholarship Fund. His simple words: “It’s great to be able to help out.”

‘LEARNING THROUGH COMMUNITY IMPACT’ 

Current students are sharing much of the same sentiment, embarking on their own journeys and adventures to help combat homelessness. Their involvement was amped up in the mid-2000s with the establishment of two new programs at Stetson: The Center for Community Engagement and the Bonner Program.

Stetson_Cruz.jpg

The Center for Community Engagement was founded by Savannah-Jane Griffin, a 2007 alumna who continues as director. The mission of the center is to enhance “student learning through community impact.” Meanwhile, the Bonner Program is a national initiative that awards scholarships to students who agree to perform eight or more hours of community service per week

Even as years pass and the paths taken by students twist and turn in fickle, fateful, incalculable directions, The Neighborhood Center remains a focal point, with its shelter and food pantry, and hope.

That’s how Jason Cruz ’17, Bonner Scholar, English/philosophy major and former editor-in-chief of The Stetson Reporter (the university’s student newspaper), met Bob.

For his junior-year Bonner project, Cruz put his journalism skills to work and wrote a booklet, “Stories From Our Neighbors: Interviews With Clients at The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia County.”

“I was interested in storytelling as a therapeutic method, and I was interested also in having the people who were using these services speak directly and not having someone speak for them,” Cruz said by phone from Philadelphia, where he tutors full time at a middle school as a City Year AmeriCorps member dedicated to public service.

In his booklet’s introduction, Cruz wrote: “In my time at The Neighborhood Center and other sites working with homeless or impoverished people, I have found that one thing lights up their faces faster than anything else. That spark comes when others take genuine interest in them and treat them as equals. It happens so rarely in their general experience that when it does, they become ecstatic.

“A gentleman named Bob and I used to chat for what felt like hours on end, because he loved being able to share his story. One question to Bob would render the next half-hour mostly mute on my part, as his anecdotes and advice swallowed the silence. It is not that he was overbearing; he had been waiting a long time to talk to someone.”

After a year-and-a-half absence from the center, Bob returned one day.

“I was unsure he recognized me behind the front desk …,” Cruz wrote. “Suddenly, though, I heard his baritone voice tell someone else to watch out for troublemakers like me, and when I looked up Bob was beaming at me. Time had done nothing to diminish the connection he felt existed between us … .”

Copies of “Stories From Our Neighbors” are archived at Stetson’s Bonner Program, and Cruz gave the original files to The Neighborhood Center “in case they want to print more or continue this project in the future,” he said.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Students’ boots-on-the-ground volunteering at The Neighborhood Center “really impacts our agency in a big way,” asserted Waylan Niece, operations director of the center. Five students contribute a total of 30 volunteer hours weekly. The students work at the front desk and answer phones, bag food for clients, assist clients with paperwork and enter vital data into computer spreadsheets, enabling center staff to pursue other duties.

Stetson_John_Banks-2.jpg

Or, as Niece described, “That’s time that I need to be working with clients, working on grants, operating the facility, going to meetings.”

“There’s a student who’s been coming twice a week to bag up the canned goods for us to give to our clients,” Niece added. “That’s an ongoing task that’s critical to the operation, but we don’t necessarily have time to pull staff away from their other things to do those things.”

As part of a research project, John Banks ’20 will collaborate with the center, along with Stetson’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Bonner Program, to examine how law enforcement in Volusia County interacts with the poor and the homeless. Banks seeks to eventually present his findings to the DeLand City Commission and Volusia County Council.

“The purpose of this research is to determine the relationship that exists between the two populations, not to prove that there is a positive or negative relationship,” explained Banks, a sociology major (minor in community engagement) and a Bonner Scholar. “Additionally, the information will be analyzed to determine the state of the relationship between the two, and after that is done, I will attempt to present my findings. If there is a negative relationship, hopefully steps can be implemented to end that negative relationship.”

Banks wants to build a career in criminology or criminal justice, a pursuit that began in grade school and was nurtured in the Bonner Program. At what’s called the Sweet Spot Workshop, a meeting designed by the Bonner Program to match students’ career goals and academic interests with community needs, Banks learned of the opportunity to engage with The Neighborhood Center and conduct research. A discussion with his academic adviser, Sven Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, along with Niece and Finnicum- Simmons, cemented the idea.

Such is the beauty of the Bonner Program, Banks and Finnicum- Simmons agree.

“I do believe that this is a part of my Stetson experience,” Banks said. “I came to Stetson to make a difference, not only in the Stetson community but also the DeLand community. My entire life, I have always tried to help people in any way possible, and that is part of the reason I love volunteering at The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia. Even if a small microscopic amount of positive change comes from this research, I would see it as a success.”

ADDRESSING ISSUES

The annual Poverty & Homelessness Conference, a collaboration among Stetson, Volusia County Schools and Volusia United Educators, was founded four years ago by Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., the Jessie Ball duPont Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson. The conference aims to address the “devastating effects” of poverty and homelessness on school-age children, Shankar- Brown said.

Stetson_Shanker-Brown-2.jpg

The 2018 conference, held at Stetson, was attended by 456 area schoolteachers, education administrators and professionals, and service-organization workers. Attendees participated in 18 workshops and presentations, such as “Understanding and Supporting Homeless Students” and “Brains Can Change! Overcoming the Effects of Poverty and Supporting Student Learning.”

The conference included a panel with schools sharing the impact of action plans created at past conferences, like creating food pantries and clothing/hygiene closets, developing educational workshops for families living in poverty, and re-examining curriculum and instruction to meet the diverse needs of low-income students.

“I believe that we have a civic responsibility to address poverty and homelessness, and when I say ‘we,’ this includes higher education,” said Shankar-Brown, who is an elected board member of the National Coalition for the Homeless. She frequently travels to Washington, D.C., to discuss homelessness and poverty matters with members of Congress, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and HUD.

  In March, Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., and undergraduates, including Bonner and Multicultural Student Council student leaders, attended the 2018 IMPACT National Conference in Dayton, Ohio. Shankar-Brown’s presentation and interactive workshop, “A Change Is Gonna Come: Promoting Equity and Advancing Social Justice Through Mindful Campus-Community Partnerships,” was delivered to a standing-room-only crowd of college students, educators, community organizers and professionals from across the nation. Left to right: Ashlee Renich-Malek, Adam Cooper, Ally Terry, Rajni Shankar-Brown, Veronica Faison, Vanessa Petion, Tammi Hanzalik

In March, Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D., and undergraduates, including Bonner and Multicultural Student Council student leaders, attended the 2018 IMPACT National Conference in Dayton, Ohio. Shankar-Brown’s presentation and interactive workshop, “A Change Is Gonna Come: Promoting Equity and Advancing Social Justice Through Mindful Campus-Community Partnerships,” was delivered to a standing-room-only crowd of college students, educators, community organizers and professionals from across the nation. Left to right: Ashlee Renich-Malek, Adam Cooper, Ally Terry, Rajni Shankar-Brown, Veronica Faison, Vanessa Petion, Tammi Hanzalik

“One of the reasons I decided to join Stetson’s faculty is because of where it is situated. Knowing there are significantly high numbers of children and youth experiencing homelessness in Central Florida is deeply distressing and further motivates my work as a social-justice scholar-educator,” Shankar-Brown added.

TAKING COUNT

Using a point-in-time method, Volusia County Schools identified 2,006 students as homeless as of January 2018, out of a student population of 63,000. Of those students, 191 were considered “unaccompanied homeless youths, meaning they do not live in the custody of a parent or a guardian,” noted Jennifer Watley, the school district’s homeless liaison/foster care contact and a member of the Poverty & Homelessness Conference’s planning committee.

At the 2018 conference, Volusia County Schools Superintendent James T. Russell said, “We do know there are students in our district who live in cars. I know of at least two cases of students who live in tents in the woods. We have couch surfers — unaccompanied youth who spend a week with an aunt, cousin or friends, and they sleep on couch to couch to couch.”

The homeless student population “is a changing number,” Watley said. “I think these numbers are under-identified, to be honest with you. The kids in high school tend to not self-disclose that information in fear of having to go into foster care or fear of being returned to an unsafe home situation. There are a lot of reasons students don’t tell us they are in a homeless situation.”

“I am determined to help change this painful reality and encourage my students to engage and be ‘solutionaries’ in a world of growing disparities,” Shankar-Brown said.

Throughout Stetson’s Department of Education, future teachers are taught how to recognize signs of homelessness in their classrooms.

Homelessness also is a personal issue for Shankar-Brown. Her father immigrated to the United States from India with a full scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., but room and board were not covered. When Shankar-Brown’s mother joined him, they were homeless and lived in cardboard boxes and under bridges. By the time Shankar-Brown and her siblings were born, their parents had established a stable household.

“It is imperative that institutions of higher education move beyond the ‘ivory tower’ and prioritize civic engagement,” Shankar- Brown concluded. “Compassion and empathy are important, but we must also mindfully and vigorously act.”

The Volusia/Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless conducts a point-in-time count each January by sending volunteers into the community with surveys to be filled out by homeless people encountered. Those surveys are then combined with data taken from the Homeless Management Information System database through HUD.

The 2018 count for Volusia and Flagler was not available as of this writing. The 2017 count was 753 homeless people, according to the coalition’s website, vfcontinuum.org.

(Note: Regarding any discrepancy between the number of homeless students and the lesser number of homeless people in the general two-county population, gathering statistics is considered an imperfect science. Educators use guidelines established by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, while other agencies use those established by HUD.)

REMAINING COMMITTED

Other efforts to address homelessness come from throughout the Stetson community. Last year, Shankar-Brown worked with members of Stetson’s Student Coalition to End Homelessness and the university’s Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women to hold book drives that collected more than 3,500 books for local homeless shelters and high-poverty schools.

Stetson’s Dining Services donates leftover food to The Neighborhood Center. Facilities Management donates surplus and used furniture or kitchenware, left over from renovations, to the agency for use in its housing program.

Stetson’s Sarah George Trust Fund grants funds to better DeLand’s Spring Hill neighborhood, giving preference to projects that involve Stetson students and result in a lasting community impact.

Greenfeather, now a student-driven philanthropy program of the Center for Community Engagement, supports numerous local nonprofit organizations through fundraisers and donation drives. Greenfeather originated in 1952 on campus. In 2015, a Greenfeather grant was awarded to The Neighborhood Center.

Through all of this, the Center for Community Engagement has played a chief role, certainly not alone, but as a leader.

“By being a member of this community, we have a responsibility to leverage as many resources as we can to reduce poverty and solve some of these big issues that we have the full capacity to be able to support,” Finnicum-Simmons commented, also pointing to Stetson’s Office of Career and Professional Development.

For students, it’s a case of helping self by helping others, Finnicum- Simmons described. Among the goals of the Center for Community Engagement is to “make sure that every student at Stetson has some kind of community-engagement experience. We’re at about 68 percent right now,” she said.

The engagement brings change to students, just as it makes a difference in the community.

LASTING IMPRESSIONS

For Cruz, the writer-interviewer behind “Stories From Our Neighbors” as a student, the fruits of those efforts continue to grow after college.

“People in poverty, people in issues of housing scarcity are just as kind and generous and loving and resourceful as anyone else,” Cruz reflected. “Oftentimes, we as a society will neglect these people. We’ll leave them off to the wayside, or assume that there’s some sort of moral failing and that’s why they’re in the situation they are.

“At The Neighborhood Center, I got to see so many people from different walks of life who for various reasons had fallen on hard times, be it families who had a medical situation that cost them their money, or people who were escaping violent situations. All of them in my time there were kind to me, kind to each other. There was a great sense of community among the clients. They regarded the center as a place where they could get dignified help. They weren’t sneered at or looked at as some sort of parasite, but were treated as people who deserve respect.

Bonner Foundation Welcomes 2018 Summer Interns

Each summer, the Bonner Foundation welcomes four to eight motivated, passionate, and talented Bonner summer interns from our network of 65+ Bonner programs. During this eleven-week internship in Princeton, New Jersey, these professionals bring their Bonner Program experience and share it by developing new resources and strategies for the national network. This year, we are delighted to welcome five exceptionalBonner summer interns:

• Aleah Qureshi, Wofford College ‘18

• Alexander Nichols, Davidson College ‘19

• Ashlee Renich-Malek, Stetson University ‘18

• Kai Magino, The College of New Jersey ‘19

• Taylor Clarke, Stetson University ‘19

You can read more about each intern’s bio on our Bonner Foundation staff page.


Though their responsibilities slightly shift in focus from year to year, each cohort of interns is immersed in learning to plan and implement national conferences, and engaged in resource design and development for the national network. This summer, Bonner Summer Interns are focused on two strategic initiatives: launching the Bonner Alumni Network and creating new resources for students to pursue capacity-building and Community-Engaged Signature Work.

The Bonner Alumni initiative provides our interns with a chance to connect with incredible alumni from our network of over 15,000 graduates. Through formal interviews, the Bonner summer interns will synthesize each alumni’s testimony and insight into alumni profiles, which we hope will showcase their incredible work and Bonner legacy. Additionally, the interns will supplement knowledge gained from their alumni interviews with research to create “job sector” guides, which will serve as a resource for current Bonners and young professionals looking for resources in discerning their career and vocation.

Resource development for Community Engaged Signature work is the other primary project focus of the summer. Interns have each already completed a culminating capstone project, or they are in the midst of preparing for one when they return on campus. Drawing on their personal capstone experience and expertise, as well as research and years of capstone examples in the network, our interns will work on developing guides to support the integration of Community Engaged Signature Work into all Bonner programs across the network. The goal is that they will develop advising forms, trainings, and processes that target different audience levels, including students, community partners, and faculty.

We are delighted to work alongside such talented young professionals this summer, and we know that their work will have long-lasting impact on the Bonner network.

Profile of Marimar Mantuano, Guilford College Class of 2018

This spring, Guilford is graduating another distinguished class of difference-makers. They know what it means to live out the College's seven Core Values of community, diversity, equality, excellence, integrity, justice and stewardship in their everyday lives. The future is in good hands with student like Marimar Mantuano '18, whom you meet in this video profile on Guilford College's website.

Marimar Mantuano '18, Psychology major, Education Studies minor and Bonner Scholar, will head back to The Bronx to teach while also pursuing graduate school.

Marimar_photo.jpg

Two Bonners In Top 10 Spelman Class of 2018

Source: Spelman College website

Amani R. Holder, '18, of Saint Petersburg, Florida, has earned the title of salutatorian for the class of 2018.  And, Kimya Loder, a sociology and international studies major, was one of Spelman's class of 2018 top 10 graduates.  Both will be entering doctoral programs next year.

  Amani Holder, Spelman '18

Amani Holder, Spelman '18

Amani Holder was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and serves as the 2017-2018 vice president of the Spelman College chapter of Psi Chi International Honor Society for psychology. As part of the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program, she has completed an honors thesis and presented her research at local and national conferences. Holder was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Fellowship and Rachel Robinson International Fellowship to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. She also received the Gordon-Zeto & Gates Scholarship to study in Cuenca, Ecuador. 

As a Bonner Scholar, Holder served the West End community and beyond completing more than 1,600 hours of service including interning with AmeriCorps, KIPP Strive Academy, Congressman John Lewis, the Behavioral Health Unit of the Fulton County Juvenile Justice Center, and the Center for Black Women’s Wellness.  

Holder is also active on campus as the curriculum coordinator for the Insight Initiative, an organization that mentors and teaches life skills to 3rd-5th-grade students at Dunbar Elementary School in Atlanta. Furthermore, she serves as the service event coordinator for Children’s Village Market which works to combat childhood food insecurity in the West End. 

Upon graduation, Holder will attend Indiana University to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

  Kimya Loder, Spelman '18

Kimya Loder, Spelman '18

Kimya Loder, a Birmingham, Alabama native, chose to attend Spelman because she knew that as a Black woman, there was no other place on earth that could train her to be the socially conscious, global-minded citizen that she aspired to become.

As a Bonner Scholar and Social Justice Fellow who maintained a cumulative 3.89 grade point average, Loder's academic experience has been enhanced by a commitment to social justice and civic engagement. She worked as an advocacy intern for the Atlanta Community Food Bank and a human rights program intern for The Carter Center. After receiving her certification in philanthropic management, Loder advanced her journey in sustainable development and founded Children’s Village Market, which is a student organization dedicated to tackling the issue of child hunger in the West End community of Atlanta. 

I ultimately hope to use my creativity, research, and leadership skills to develop innovative ways to teach the 21st century student to be civically engaged and tackle 21st century problems.
Kimya Loder, Bonner Scholar ‘18

Loder has received a number of honors and awards including being a member of the Ethel Waddell Githii Honors program, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Beta Delta, and designation as a Bonner Scholar, WEL Scholar and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. After graduation, she will plans to purse her Ph.D. in sociology at Stanford University.

She is broadly interested in race, youth, civic engagement, and social movements. Last summer, her research examined the contributions of Black youth activists to the democratic transition of Tunisia, post-Tunisian Revolution of 2010.

College of Charleston Celebrates 10th Bonner Program Anniversary

The College of Charleston' Bonner's Bonner Program was initiated 10 years ago by two students,  Jyn Repede, '09 and Jamila Harper '08

  Jamila Harper, Bonner and College of Charleston '08 alum, surrounded by Bobby Hackett, President of the Bonner Foundation, and Stephanie Visser, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement.

Jamila Harper, Bonner and College of Charleston '08 alum, surrounded by Bobby Hackett, President of the Bonner Foundation, and Stephanie Visser, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement.

They learned of the program at the March 2008 IMPACT Conference where they kept meeting students who introduced themselves as "Bonners." Intrigued, they tracked down staff from the Bonner Foundation who encouraged them to take the lead in bringing the program to their campus. 

They brought the idea back to Stephanie Visser, Director of the College of Charleston's Center for Civic Engagement.  With the help of other staff in the Student Affairs Office and the Development Office, they adopted the "On Your Mark, Go, Get Set!" philosophy and launched the program in August, 2008, six months after their initial introduction to the network. 

You can learn more about their story in this keynote speech by Jamila Harper, delivered at their 10th Anniversary Celebration.  

And, you can read their 10th Anniversary Bonner Book by clicking on the cover image below. 

 
 

Guilford Bonner Wins Journalism Photography Award

Guilford Bonner Wins Journalism Photography Award

Abigail Bekele, Bonner Scholar Class of 2019, won the Mark of Excellence Award for 2018 in General News Photography for small colleges (< 10,000 enrollment) from the Society of Professional Journalists Region 2 (N.C., Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C.).  Her winning photograph entry was titled “Can I have a hug?” and appeared in The Guilfordian accompanying an article on a visit to Guilford College’s campus by Jill and Joe Biden. 

Capital University Announces Inaugural Bonner Leaders Class

Capital University Announces Inaugural Bonner Leaders Class

BEXLEY, Ohio, April 17, 2018 — Capital University today revealed its inaugural class and outlined the community organizations the students’ efforts will impact in the first year. This comes one year after announcing its formal partnership with The Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation to provide scholarships for lower-income, underrepresented and first-generation students with a passion for community engagement and social justice issues. 

Campus Civic Action Plans from Schools in Bonner Network

In recognition of Campus Compact‘s 30th anniversary in 2015-16, the National Campus Compact's Board of Directors asked member presidents and chancellors to join in signing an Action Statement, a declaration of shared commitment to the public purposes of higher education and a promise to develop a Campus Civic Action Plan to realize those purposes more fully.

So far, nine schools in the Bonner Network have completed their Civic Action Plans:

College of St. Benedict and St. John's University

Davidson College

Edgewood College

Rolllins College

Stockton University

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Wagner College

Warren Wilson College

Widener University

 

Volunteering in Trenton, Rider Bonners Learn to Focus on Others in Need

Volunteering in Trenton, Rider Bonners Learn to Focus on Others in Need

"The Freshman Year Experience is the cornerstone of the Bonner program. It really changes the students' perspective on service and is so impactful on their lives," says Joan Liptrot, assistant director of Campus Life for Service Learning. "Since the snow threw a wrench into our plans, we needed to come up with a way to create a similar experience locally."

Oberlin Bonner Alum is a Singing Doctor

Oberlin Bonner Alum is a Singing Doctor

Elvis Francois, Bonner grad from Oberlin College, and William Robinson are resident doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and they recently gained attention after a video of them singing in the hospital lobby went viral. Ellen chatted with them about their kind gesture, and the duo performed a cover of Mike Yung's "Alright."

16 Bonners Named Newman Civic Fellows

16 Bonners Named Newman Civic Fellows

Bonners from 16 campuses in our national network were among those who received the 2018 Newman Civic Fellows Award from the Campus Compact.

Zero Hunger Initiative Launched with CHC

Zero Hunger Initiative Launched with CHC

The Bonner Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership with the the Congressional Hunger Center. Through the Zero Hunger Initiative, Bonners will be able to deepen their learning around issues of food security, hunger and poverty and be exposed to ways they can become more effective advocates for promoting policies that address food security and reduce hunger in their campus communities.

Bonners Write Novels, Too!

Bonners Write Novels, Too!

Becca Spence Dobias, Guilford Bonner Scholar '08, just wrote a novel titled "Rock of Ages." It tells the story of "an LA transplant struggles over whether to return to rural Appalachia after her father’s death and an abusive relationship. A feisty rule breaker and her abuelita, and maybe a little bit of magic, help her understand the meaning of home."

First-year Bonner Tells His Story to the Greensboro City Council

First-year Bonner Tells His Story to the Greensboro City Council

First-year Bonner Scholar Saul Rodriguez from Guilford College spoke to the Greensboro City Council which is considering a resolution to support the DREAM Act.  Saul "shared how this decision could affect his life and why the city's support is so important to him.

Averett Bonner Leader Wins Dan River Nonprofit Network’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award

Averett Bonner Leader Wins Dan River Nonprofit Network’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award

Each year the Dan River Nonprofit Network holds a Volunteer of the Year Contest to celebrate those throughout the community that go above and beyond with their engagement in the Dan River Region. For the second year in a row, an Averett University student took home the win.

Taylor Doss, Averett sophomore business major, won the 2017 Volunteer of the Year award, voted on by the public. Doss is an Averett Bonner Leader and a cheerleader for the University.