The Bonner Community Scholars are a diverse group of students who share a common desire and commitment: to work as part of a team of students, staff and community members that strives to improve the quality of life in the Trenton area. This four-year student and community development program provides its participants with opportunities to enhance their own skills while promoting positive change and social justice. In return, Bonner Community Scholars receive an annual academic scholarship.
At the beginning of the Bonner experience, Scholars choose to join one of several site-based service teams. Each one focuses on an area such as hunger, homelessness, housing, developmental disabilities, the environment, juvenile justice, the environment, immigrant services, prisoner education, urban education, and youth development. These teams work primarily with one or two community-partner organizations in the greater Trenton area, giving students the opportunity to bring together their service and academic experiences in significant ways.
As students continue in the Bonner program, they are given multiple chances to pursue their interests and increase their levels of participation, commitment, and leadership, both at their sites and on campus. For example, Bonner students play a key role in creating service learning opportunities for other students through the Community Engaged Learning (CEL) program at TCNJ. They help the staff and faculty organize as well as supervise more than 80 Community Engaged Learning projects and experiences each year. Some of these involve teams of students from the same residential floor who share a common interest. Others are participants in one of 40 class-based projects that are integrated into FSP courses. Bonners also organize critical issue forums on campus to address local and international issues, as well as participate in short-term service trips in New Orleans, Richmond, Atlanta, and Nicaragua.
- Summer and spring orientation, training and activity planning
- 300 hours of meaningful service (10-12 hours per week)
- Weekly meetings or trainings
- Occasional forums or conferences
- Class-based service trips
- Good academic standing