The Bonner Community Scholars Program (BCS) is a four-year civic engagement program founded by Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation. The mission of the Bonner Foundation is access to education and opportunity to serve.
The Bonner programmatic thrust at Macalester focuses on leadership development, academic support, community service, networking and community building. Each week, Bonner Scholars are engaging in multifaceted relationships with local community partners. Being a Bonner Scholar involves a commitment not only to service, but also to learning how to be an effective change agent on one’s campus, community and beyond.
Macalester’s Bonner Program is one of over 60 examples of Bonner Programs across college campuses throughout the nation. Each college has their own particular way of running their Bonner Program.
To learn more about the program and the foundation, please visit Bonner Foundation Website
The main difference between the Bonner Program and other civic leadership program opportunities at Macalester is that each academic year we admit a cohort of 12 students to commit to four years of civic engagement. The two major cornerstone experiences during the first year are a pre-orientation program and a J-term community based learning course.
The time commitment and themes explored throughout these four years vary, but also build upon one another. Our Bonner Program seeks to provide leadership programming, academic support, engagement opportunities and a social networking for Scholars.
Another unique component to the program is that Bonner Scholars will complete their student employment by working with local non-profit organizations 8-10 hours per week in partnership with the Civic Engagement Center.
First-year Bonners earn their work-study/student employment tutoring and serving as classroom assistants with local public schools.
Sophomore, junior and senior Bonners earn their student employment at various Twin Cities non-profit organizations. Meet the Bonners and their sites
We do occasionally have some students who choose to work with organizations that do not have a partnership with our program. If that is the case, we will go through the process of establishing a partnership with that organization with you.
There are also a few positions available to work within the Civic Engagement Center or Department of Multicultural Life that also fulfill your Bonner student employment commitment.
You will be able to learn more about additional options when you apply for student employment positions in the spring semester of your first year.
Bonner meetings are routinely held on Monday late afternoon/early evening. They typically begin around 4:30pm and last for an hour and a half, unless otherwise noted.
During the first year, Bonners will meet mostly every Monday. As we approach closer to the first year trip in January, more details and information on meetings will be given closer to date. Meetings are typically themed and intend to prepare you for the first-year trip, as well as other aspects related to leadership programming, academic support, engagement opportunities and a social networking.
Throughout the semester, we also have three-four All Bonner meetings which take place both on and off campus, where first years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors get to come together to reflect and build community across class years.
You may certainly be involved with other organizations at Macalester! We have Bonner Scholars who participate in athletics among other curricular and co-curricular activities. However, please keep in mind the 8-10 hours per week student employment time commitment that Bonner entails, as it does require you to learn and to be able to manage and prioritize your time, commitments, and activities.
Yes. Priority is given those who identify as first generation college-students.
Ideal Bonner candidates are passionate about civic engagement and eliminating systematic inequalities, demonstrate community involvement, embrace working in a team setting, have leadership potential, and a commitment to the Bonner mission of “Access to Education & Opportunity to Serve.”
As a Bonner, you will be encouraged to explore multiple ways to be civically engaged, as well as learning how to be an effective change agent for one’s campus, community, and elsewhere. Bonners also gain access to unique professional and academic networks within and beyond the Bonner Foundation. What you gain will also depend on how you choose to process and use what you learn throughout your time as a Bonner.
As a Bonner Scholar, you will be able to contribute your own experiences and commit to weekly service work through your student employment placement. Your dedication to service and as an effective agent of change will enable you to contribute greatly to the Macalester campus, local communities, nonprofits in the Twin Cities, and beyond.