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Bonner Student Leadership

Page history last edited by Robert Hackett 5 years, 3 months ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / Bonner Student Leadership 


Bonner Student Leadership

The Bonner Program is built upon the belief that student leadership and voice is critical and central to the program, broader student and campus engagement, and building a sustained and culture infrastructure for engagement. Indeed, this belief is supported by twenty-five years of experience and practice across multiple institutions. To the Bonner Foundation and Program, student leadership has been a common expectation and practice.


Our philosophy is that “students are the leaders of today,” not tomorrow.  Whether helping to launch a new Bonner Program, lead all of the volunteers at a service site, plan and run campus-wide or national events, or even be colleagues to faculty in facilitating the integration of community engagement with courses, students lead the program and broader engagement. Bonner students play strong leadership roles within their Bonner Programs and campus-wide, as well as in community contexts (local, national, and even global). Leadership development is supported through intentional training and education (for instance, during regular meetings with class cohorts and the whole program), coursework, mentoring, and advising. Each program builds on these elements.



Student Leadership Roles and Structures


Click on the specialized student leadership positions below to learn more about their role, responsibilities, and available resources:


Bonner Leadership Teams

Bonner Congress

Bonner Senior Interns

Bonner Alumni Ambassadors


Though all students are supported in leadership development through intentional training and education, coursework, mentoring, and advising, typically 15-20 students (in a program of 60) take formalized student leadership roles. These roles vary based on the needs of each Bonner program, and the students that take on these roles often form a team structure of leadership.


  • Bonner Leadership Teams — Programs build a team with multiple students.  They may be organized into programmatic areas like recruitment, community building (Bonner Love), and public relations.  
  • Class Representatives — Many campuses also enlist selected representatives from each class (freshmen, etc.) to play leadership roles in planning and leading reflections and trainings, organize service trips, and play other roles.  These students are often part of the BLT. 
  • Site or Issue-Based Team Leaders — Students play a leadership role for their non-profit partner site, helping to coordinate other volunteers and activities. Some programs use broader issue teams (like hunger or the environment), which promote coordination and sharing of efforts across community agencies.  Students also lead these teams. 
  • Bonner Senior Interns — Students move into sophisticated program management roles, working alongside staff, faculty, and partners.  Senior Interns help manage the Bonner Program. High-Impact Interns work on projects to broaden and deepen engagement across the curriculum and institution. Community Impact Interns work as liaisons to service sites, doing research and analysis.
  • National Bonner Congress Representatives — Two representatives from each program participate in a national network, attending conferences twice a year and collaborating to bring their ideas to action.
  • Special Project Leaders — Other projects for students include organizing service events (like Sophomore Exchange), researching public policy and issues (PolicyOptions Interns) and more.
  • Bonner Alumni Network Student Ambassadors — students leaders who build relationships between alumni and students through communications and events.  


Responsibilities of Student Leaders

Across the Bonner network, student leaders hold many roles and fulfill many high level responsibilities. In fact, student leaders play such an essential role in the Bonner program that they are often referred to as extension of Bonner staff. Below, you will find a list of broad categories that represent the extensive range of responsibilities that student leaders hold.


  • Academic Connections — Students work in partnership with faculty to develop community-engaged courses that incorporate best practices of civic and community engagement 
  • Bonner Cornerstone Events — Students aid in the design, management, and facilitation of instrumental events in the Bonner experience, including the first year trip, second year exchange, and senior presentation of learning 
  • Bonner Program Start Up — Students assist in the beginning stages of a starting new Bonner program, including tasks such as recruitment and selection, building the training calendar, and establishing community partnerships 
  • Campus Engagement — Students brainstorm and forge strategic partnerships with campus partners in order to boost campus-wide engagement and cultivate a culture of service on campus 
  • Capacity Building — Students manage and support their peers in developing community-based capacity building projects focused on five broad areas: volunteer management, training and program development, fundraising, communications, and research 
  • Communications and Social Media — Students design and implement marketing strategies to build a Bonner brand, share service events and initiatives, and keep Bonners informed about internship and post-graduate opportunities 
  • Community Building — Students craft social and bonding experiences amongst Bonner peers to create an inclusive learning community 
  • Community Partnerships — Students act as liaisons between the campus and community, strengthening or creating new partnerships with key nonprofit organizations and community members 
  • Data and Assessment — Students collect civic engagement and impact data to provide basis for quantitative and qualitative assessment 
  • Fundraising and Grant Writing — Students aid staff in securing grants and other sources of funding to support civic engagement initiatives 
  • Judiciary and Accountability — Students serve on a judiciary committee or board to provide student input on disciplinary issues 
  • Logistics and Administration — Students manage the Bonner web-based reporting system or alternative campus-wide tracking system 
  • Student Development & Programming — Students help to support their peers through designing and facilitating trainings, holding one-on-one meetings, and mentorship opportunities



Student Leadership Hub 

If you are a Bonner student leader and are looking for resources, check out the Student Leadership Huban easily navigable center of relevant information and resources. On this page, you will find a list of topics, informed by the context, background, and support necessary for student leaders to excel and thrive in their roles on campus and in the community. This hub can be seen as a student-centered, annotated form of our more comprehensive Bonner Wiki, because it contains many links and references to specific pages in the Bonner wiki. However, it is also contains and gets updated with significant material that pertains specifically to student leaders.