Strengthening Campus-Wide Centers



Creating a Bonner Program often facilitates the development of sustained infrastructure for campus-community partnerships and community engagement, such as dedicated staffing and coordinating centers.



While the Bonner Program is often best known for its focus on students, in fact a key goal and rationale for campuses is to support a campus-wide culture and infrastructure for community engagement. Many colleges and universities seek out a relationship with the Bonner Foundation and network because it can help them to build the internal capacity for broader and deeper engagement. For most institutions, this work involves building a center or office with dedicated staffing. Centers play important roles including:

  • Building and managing student programs and student leadership

  • Building and sustaining relationships with community partners

  • Providing funding and resources for projects

  • Engaging faculty through course connections, research, and projects

  • Providing training and reflection for students, faculty, and volunteers

  • Managing transportation, liability, and other project concerns

  • Tracking campus engagement and its impact

The Foundation provides a number of important supports for campuses in its network with center development and management. These include:

  • Identify development: Participation in the Bonner network provides campus staff with access to examples and models for center organization, staffing structures, mission statements, and program models.
  • Strategic planning: Foundation staff work with campus staff to facilitate the creation of 3-5 year written strategic plans for centers and their roles on campus and within the community. 
  • Program planning: Foundation staff can make visits to assist with Bonner Program start-up, growth, and management. Many campuses often take elements of the Bonner model to shape other new programs across departments.
  • Professional development: The Bonner network convenes staff, student leaders, and faculty at least three times each year, as well as for special initiatives. See more under Meetings and also about Faculty Development [link to next one].

See the Bonner Wiki for additional resources on a range of related topics.