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Service Leadership - Guides

Page history last edited by Mikaela Chin 2 years ago

Front Page / Bonner Program Resources / Service Leadership / Guides



Service Leadership

Overview  |  Guides  |  Campus Examples  |  Documents to Download


Bonners find themselves in a leadership role in service, on campus, or more broadly. Usually, students will find themselves organically growing into new roles as their sites, or perhaps finding other sites where they can connect their academics, service passions, and future aspirations.


While Bonner meetings with your cohort or whole program continue, there may be more individualized options. Though these experiences, it is typical for students to focus on the following skills:


  • Extending their work to include other forms of civic engagement (like advocacy, fundraising, or campaigns)

  • Project or group management (including more experience with leading on issues like diversity)

  • Critical thinking and more sophisticated analysis of issues and how to address them

  • Doing an undergraduate research project


During their junior or senior year, students often forge new ways to connect their service work and academic study. Many programs or students also have an international trip or study abroad experience. In your last two years, we encourage students to ask: How can I build the capacity at your site or carry out a project that will make an impact? 



Student Leadership Roles

Below are some examples of ways that campuses and programs are structurally integrating the supports, training, advising, and opportunities for students to reach the highest levels of growth and leadership. Below are some examples, which also link with other sections on the Wiki.


Bonner Leadership Team 



Bonner Congress Representative 



Bonner Senior Intern 



Bonner Alumni Ambassador 



Campus-Wide Leadership Role 



In a site-based team model, each service site has a group of volunteers, characterized by cascading student leadership. This is most often visualized as a pyramid, with occasional volunteers forming the base, regular volunteers above them, project coordinators/leaders next, and a site-team leader at the top of the pyramid. This structure allows for the site team leader (or student site coordinator) to continuously train student project coordinators and other volunteers, crafting a scaffolded system of support and transitioning of leadership. This team can be made up of Bonners, campus student leaders, or any students willing to serve at the site. Based on this model for community engagement, any student can become a leader at their service site over time. However, this leadership role extends beyond just managing the volunteer operations at the site. The site-team leader also has the ability to lead trainings on root cause analysis on an issue that is addressed by the work of their partner organization and host reflection and trainings for their team. More resources on this type of leadership can be found on the Managing Site-Based Teams page, as well as the Student Leadership page.


Another example is found when the junior (or senior) class takes on organizing a big campus-wide event, like a service day or a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) project. At Union College, for many years the juniors organized the "Repair Fair", a huge event that involved student volunteers in doing home repairs, tax returns, clean ups, and other projects to benefit low-income families. Again, the process of organizing, mobilizing others, speaking, running reflection, and all fits with the skills and knowledge at these stages. Your program may want to dovetail such an event with the national Make a Difference Day or campus project (like Greek Life). 


Students as Colleagues Role with Faculty



More and more, students are also working alongside faculty on service-learning courses and projects. They help plan and lead projects, facilitate reflection for peers, and even train faculty! You can learn more about this in the Campus Wide Student Leadership section or download examples and handouts like the Students as Colleagues (Five Point Series) handout.