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BSP Rules - Program

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Bonner Scholar Program Rules


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Section II: Program



2.1 Community Service Requirement

  • For the purposes of the Bonner Scholars Program, “community service” is defined as service provided to individuals or communities to meet social, educational, or environmental needs. This service may be provided directly or indirectly through a student-initiated project or a project sponsored by a non-profit or government agency.
  • The following activities will not count towards meeting a Bonner Scholar’s service requirement either during the school year or in the summer: 
    • service on behalf of a private, for-profit company or organization;
    • service on behalf of a political organization or campaign (voter registration drives are allowed);
    • pure, scientific research in a laboratory;
    • ROTC or any other military service;
    • activity whose primary focus is to support worship, evangelical and proselytizing activities within church or para-church organizations. These activities include, but are not limited to, service that focuses on religious instruction, indoctrination or conversion. Examples include providing childcare at church in support of a worship service, teaching in evangelical and proselytizing programs, participating in a worship service, and clerical and/or administrative work for the organization. Please note that service with a religious or para-religious organization for the purpose of providing direct community service (e.g., tutoring, mentoring, providing goods to those in need, community justice programs, and crisis intervention) does qualify for Bonner service hours.
  • Please note that AmeriCorps members have additional prohibitions for their service and training hours.


2.1.1 School-Year Service

  • Bonner Scholars are required to perform an average of ten hours of community service a week during the academic year for a total of not less than 280 hours to fulfill the school-year service requirement.
  • Bonner Scholars are not permitted to “bank” hours during certain terms of service (one month or more) that will then be applied to meet the service expectation in future terms.
  • First-year Bonner Scholars may apply their First-Year Service Trip hours towards their school-year hour requirement.
  • No less than half of a Bonner Scholar’s service hours must be spent in “direct, hands- on” community service activities such as tutoring, visiting the elderly, environmental clean-up, building a home, renovating a playground.
  • No more than half of a Bonner Scholar’s service hours may be spent in “indirect” community service activities such as administrative tasks related to the Bonner Scholars Program or action research on behalf of a community group.


2.1.2 Summer Service

  • Every Bonner Scholar is required to complete at least two summers of full-time community service defined as at least 280 hours over at least seven weeks, with a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • Bonner Scholars to petition as an exception for one of their two summers of service to: a) engage in science lab research with faculty mentorship with demonstrated community impact can be a summer placement for one of the two required summers of service, or b) serve with a for-profit company if their summer role can be shown to have a larger social impact, particularly in social corporate responsibility.
    • Each school should develop a form and process for students to submit their petition for an exception to one of their summer of service placements. This policy should be approved by the Bonner Foundation.
    • After initial approval by the Bonner Program staff on campus, each exception proposal should be submitted by email to the Bonner Foundation for final approval.
  • Bonner Scholar replacements who begin the Bonner Scholars Program in their freshman or sophomore year are required to do two summers of service; Bonner Scholar replacements who begin in their junior year are required to do one summer of service.
  • Students who do not plan to return to the Bonner Scholars Program in the fall are not eligible to participate in the summer service program. However, if, after completing the summer service, a student decides to take a leave, he or she will receive the summer earnings upon his or her return (see Section 4.4.2 for Summer Earnings allocation guidelines).


2.2 Orientation

  • Each year an orientation should be convened before the school year begins for all first- year Bonner Scholars to build community among the Bonner Scholars, provide enrichment activities, and begin preparing them for their service and other responsibilities.


2.3 Training, Education, and Reflection

  • Bonner Scholars should be provided initial and on-going opportunities for training, education, and reflection to prepare and strengthen their skills and knowledge for their service work. These opportunities should be appropriate to each stage of the student’s personal development and service responsibilities.


2.4 Placement

  • Bonner Scholars should be placed in their service sites within the first four to five weeks of their first year in the program. The weekly service hours during that time should be filled with further orientation, training, and group-building and/or service activities.
  • Bonner Scholars should be following the Comprehensive Placement Process for both school year and summer service placements, with special attention to the Community Learning Agreement (see the Bonner Director’s Handbook for a description of this process).
  • Bonner Scholars should use the Bonner Web-Based Reporting System for: 
    • (a) recording their Community Learning Agreement,
    • (b) logging in their hours for community service and training and enrichment activities,
    • (c) summarizing their service activities at the end of each semester and summer, and
    • (d) reviewing their Community Learning Agreement at the end of each term.


2.5 Regular Meetings

  • Regular meetings should be organized for (and by) Bonner Scholars for training, education, reflection.
  • Directors and/or coordinators are encouraged to meet one-on-one with Bonner Scholars at least once each semester and more often with those students who are having academic or personal difficulties.


2.6 Reflection

  • All Bonner Scholars should participate in some form of reflection related to their service experience. Reflection may take many forms, including journal-keeping, weekly small group meetings, or some form of artistic expression.
  • The Foundation encourages links between the Bonner Scholars Program and the academic curriculum.


2.7 Student Evaluation

  • Bonner Scholars should complete a “review” of their Community Learning Agreement at the end of each semester and summer. We encourage their site supervisors to complete a student review using the form generated by the Bonner Web-Based Reporting System.
  • In addition, we encourage coordinators/directors to use an evaluation form to solicit feedback from the community agency site supervisors on their experience as hosts to Bonner Scholars.


2.8 Student Impact Surveys

  • Directors must ensure that first-semester freshmen, first-semester juniors, and second- semester seniors complete the Bonner Student Impact Survey, and that the completed surveys are submitted in a timely fashion.


2.9 First-Year Service Trip

  • All Bonner Scholars are required to participate once, during their first (or in compelling circumstances, second) year in the program, in a service trip to a geographic region outside their campus community. These events can be organized each year either during winter, spring, or summer breaks, although the Foundation encourages schools to organize these trips for the first week of the summer.
  • First-Year Service Trip hours may count towards meeting the student’s school-year service hour requirement.
  • Directors/coordinators may apply to the Bonner Foundation for financial support of up to $250 per Bonner Scholar taking the trip and $250 for each of two people attending in a supervisory capacity (see 4.4.8 for First-Year Service Trip allocation guidelines).
  • Schools should submit a final report of the trip in the Annual Report (see Section 5.4.1 for a description of the Annual Report requirements).


2.10 Second Year Service Exchange

  • Bonner Scholars Programs are expected to organize a day-long or weekend event that brings second year Bonner students as a class to participate in service or training activities with at least one other Bonner Program. 
  • The goal of this event is to facilitate community building in the larger Bonner network and provide the opportunity for training, service and reflection.
  • Bonner schools are free to complete the exchange with any other Bonner campus in the nation.  
  • Second-year service exchange hours should count towards meeting the student’s school year service hour requirement.
  • Second-year exchange activities are not confined to service; they may include engaging trainings and enrichment activities.
  • Each campus has $50 per second-year Bonner Scholar added to their fall semester Bonner Administrative Fund award to help cover the costs for the Sophomore Service Exchange. In addition, upon request, the Foundation will allocate $50 each for up to three students to attend the event.
  • Schools attending a particular Service Exchange may agree to pool their funds in order to support the additional costs assumed by the host campus (see Section 4.4.5 for Administrative Fund allocation guidelines).


2.11 Rising Senior Fund

  • Bonner Scholars who have completed their junior year, are eligible for up to $500 pending a successful application and review by the Bonner Director and the Bonner Foundation. These funds provide additional support for Bonner Scholars who are willing to stretch themselves through a more challenging service or enrichment experience. Bonner Scholars should request funding to participate in a service experience or enrichment activity that connects with their passions, academic interests, and career pursuits related to community service.
  • This additional $500 is allocated in the semester allocation once approved by the Bonner Foundation.
  • The Bonner Scholars must submit their proposal to their Bonner Director or Coordinator for review. The successful proposals should then be submitted to the Foundation for final approval. A student application must demonstrate how the proposed experience would tie into his/ her service experience, connect to the student development model and provide a budget justifying the additional. Copies of the proposal form are available on the Foundation’s website (www.bonner.org).


2.12 Special Projects Fund

  • At the end of each academic year, the Foundation calculates the amount of unexpended program money due to a) the School Year Award was not all used due to under-enrollment, or b) the available Rising Senior funds, Local Summer Service funds, First Year Service Trip funds were not used. The total of these unexpended funds from the prior academic year at your institution are the source of your Special Projects Fund.  
  • To access these funds schools are asked to submit a proposal to the Bonner Foundation. We request that you discuss your proposal ideas with the Bonner Foundation prior to drafting your proposal.   
  • Please use the following proposal form: Special Projects Fund RFP


2.13 Senior Bonner Presentation of Learning & Community Impact

  • Every Bonner Scholar should make a “presentation of learning and community impact” to an audience of other Bonner Scholars, Bonner Advisory Committee members, and others, as determined by each campus. These presentations may include videos, photographs, essays, poems, or any other form that the student chooses.


2.14 Senior Exit Interview

  • The Bonner Scholar director and/or coordinator should conduct an “exit interview” for graduating Bonner Scholars.


2.15 Senior Bonner Intern

  • Each year Bonner directors and coordinators are encouraged to identify a senior Bonner Scholar who would serve his/her Bonner service hours as an intern to assist with the management of the Bonner Scholars Program and/or to take on special initiatives of the program, including helping with freshman orientation, planning service trips, and leading small group discussions.
  • In addition, Bonner directors and coordinators are encouraged to consider having their Bonner senior intern’s summer placement be with them so the intern can help with summer preparations for the coming school year.


2.16 Campus-Wide Service Program

  • Efforts should be made whenever possible to use the Bonner Scholars Program to inspire and develop campus-wide involvement in service activities.
  • The operation of the Bonner Scholars Program should be closely linked to the campus- wide community service and service-learning efforts.


2.17 Attendance at Meetings Sponsored by the Bonner Foundation

  • Bonner Scholars Program directors and coordinators are required to attend the Fall Directors Meeting (usually beginning the second Sunday of November) and the Summer Leadership Institute (usually in early June), organized by the Foundation.
  • Newly hired Bonner Scholars Program directors and coordinators are required to attend the New Directors Orientation organized by the Foundation (usually held beginning the last Sunday in July in Princeton, New Jersey).
  • Bonner Student Congress representatives are expected to attend the annual meetings organized for them by the Foundation, usually held just prior to the Fall Bonner Directors Meeting and in the summer just prior or during the Summer Leadership Institute. Campuses may apply for financial support when needed to send their student representatives to these meetings, with a cap of $250 per student per meeting (see Section 4.4.7 for directions for requesting a reimbursement for Bonner Congress travel expenses).