Bonner Service

Students gather for photo around held up sign: Walk A Mile In My Shoes A Refugee Camp SimulationService is a key component of participation in the Bonner Scholars Program. Each Bonner Scholar must have a labor position in service either at the College or in the community. Additionally, Bonners must complete two Summers of Service. Here, they spend seven weeks engaged in regional, national or international communities beyond Berea. For most Bonners, the commitment to service goes well beyond requirements. At Berea, Bonners lead and volunteer in service activities throughout the year.

Where in the world would you like to make a difference?

Wherever Bonners serve, they build connections from people to organizations, to each other, and to the community… strengthening us all in the process.

First Year Service

Blindfolded students lead each other in a line linking their hands to the shoulders in front of them

As a First Year Bonner, the emphasis is on individual development and team support. The first-year experience enables Bonners to:

  • safely explore their strengths and weaknesses
  • discover their leadership style in a variety of roles
  • develop leadership and programming skills that will serve them as they grow in the program

First Years work on a team of five guided by an upper-level student serving as Program Coordinator. By working in these particular teams, the First Year Bonner Scholars focus primarily on:

  • student development,
  • direct service and
  • advocacy through the programs they plan and execute.

Sophomore Year and Beyond

Beginning in the sophomore year, Bonners have the opportunity to choose the labor positions they wish to have.  Each spring, upper-level Bonners apply to work in service positions on and off campus.  We encourage upperclassmen to pursue positions that meet a vocational interest or personal passion. As Bonners grow and develop, they often assume leadership roles within their chosen organization. They may work independently or supervise other student leaders. In each case, they focus on making a contribution to our campus or local community.

CELTS Sponsored Programs

Besides being the home of the Bonner Scholars Program, CELTS serves as both home and program site for many service organizations staffed and led by students, many of whom are Bonners.  (See programs for descriptions of CELTS service opportunities.)

Campus-Based Service

Service happens all over campus and Bonners are often involved. In recent years Bonners have taken on several roles across campus including the following:

  • Counselor/Mentor with Upward Bound, Gear Up, or the Black Cultural Center
  • Student Advocate for Local Food Initiatives
  • Coordinator of the Diversity Peer Education Team
  • Resource Liaison for area Small Businesses/Non-Profits

Community-Based Opportunities

Bonners support the work of a variety of community partners in and around Berea. Their contributions make a difference in Berea, in the region, and beyond.

  • Family Resource Center Program Assistant
  • Sponsorship Coordinator with Save the Children
  • Program Assistant with Berea Food Bank
  • Legislative/Research Assistant with the Kentucky Environmental Foundation or Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • Education Assistant-New Opportunity School for Women

Summer Service

Students holding up various signs about love

Bonner Summer of Service is an opportunity to reach far beyond campus boundaries to experience the world and broaden one’s capacity to learn and serve.

Each Bonner can access up to $2500 to help fund their project. Then you are limited only by imagination, commitment and your desire to learn. Recent summer experiences have included:

  • Summer camps for special needs children
  • Zoological research work on endangered species
  • Teaching English and constructing wells at a Mexican Mission
  • Advocacy work with national unions
  • Family and patient support in hospitals
  • Photo documentation for researchers in the Peruvian rainforest
  • Working with urban resettlement of refugees