Community Engaged Fellows Progression
The Community Engaged Fellowship started as a pilot program in the 2017 - 2018 academic year. The program was designed to offer Pell eligible Colorado College (CC) students the opportunity to do sustained community work throughout all four years of college. Because lower income students are often required to choose between a job or volunteer work, the CCE pays these students for their work in the community as well as for their participation in skill development workshops and activities focused on personal discernment and community formation. Because the program aspired to follow the Bonner model, five students in the class of 2021 were admitted in an effort to determine if the Bonner Program would work at CC. Following the pilot year, students and staff in the Collaborative for Community Engagement - the office where the program is housed at CC - determined that the Bonner Program was a good fit for the College. In the Fall of 2018, the Community Engaged Fellowship was established as a four year, cohort-based program following the Bonner model. Ten students were admitted as Fellows in the class of 2022, and ten additional students were admitted into the program in the Class of 2023. Below, the number of current Fellows is broken down by class:
- Class of 2021: 5 students (pilot year class, all students opted to continue in the program for the duration of their time at CC)
- Class of 2022: 10 students (first full cohort of Community Engaged Fellows)
- Class of 2023: 10 students (second full cohort of Community Engaged Fellows)
Students who receive the Fellowship earn a merit based academic award of $5000 as part of their financial aid package. Students also receive a $2100 work award. This work award is paid directly to the Fellows throughout the academic year by the CCE to support the substantial time students commitment to CEF programming community work.
By following the Bonner model, Colorado College students are joining students at more than 70 institutions who also have Bonner programs. While each school does Bonner a little differently, all schools require sustained community engagement, in addition to consistent co-curricular trainings throughout all four years of college. All Bonner schools also participate in national Bonner conferences three times per year: The Bonner Congress (BONCON), The Fall Directors and Coordinators Conference (FALL DIRECTORS), and the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI).
As a participant in the CC Bonner Program, you will complete 24 hours of community engagement per block throughout all four years in college, in addition to attending regular meetings with other fellows in your year as well as the entire CEF cohort.
The Bonner Program model is developmental: it takes time, effort, and energy to grow into the civic leader we believe you have the potential to become. Be patient with yourself, communicate actively and consistently with CCE staff, follow the learning benchmarks for the program, uphold the CEF community standards, and serve as a resource for younger students - this is the recipe for success as a Community Engaged Fellow at CC.
Prior to Arrival: What to Expect
In the summer before you begin the Bonner Program, you will likely have a lot of expectations about what the program is, what your experience will be like in the program, and what you hope to gain as a result of your participation. This is great! We encourage you to explore questions about joining the Bonner program and about arriving at CC more generally. We encourage you to reach out to any and all current Bonners, as well as the CCE’s Assistant Director and Civic Leadership Paraprofessional, and any other CCE staff as you think through your expectations for the program.
As you prepare to be a Community Engaged Fellow at Colorado College, you might consider researching and journaling about the following questions - or talking with a friend or family member.
- What is Colorado College like, and how might my experience be different as a Bonner Fellow?
- What is Colorado Springs like? What issues does the city and region face, and where might I see myself getting involved to make a positive difference?
- What places should I definitely explore as a first year Bonner as I prepare to commit to a specific site in my second year? Why are these places interesting to me?
- What might other Bonners be like? How might I build relationships with students in my cohort as well as older students?
- How will I balance my rigorous commitment to community engagement (8 hours per week) with the academic rigors of CC and the Block Plan?
- What are the CCE staff like? How might I build a strong relationship with CCE Staff? What resources does the CCE provide? How might I develop relationships with these staff members?
- How would I define success for myself in the Bonner program? Numbers of hours worked, impact made on individuals or groups, personal growth and well being? Something else?
The Bonner Program is designed to help you grow personally through skill development, personal discernment, engagement with communities beyond the campus, and community formation with other Bonners. It’s an opportunity for you to develop the skills you need to make a difference - while you are a student in Colorado Springs and in your life after college. Bonner staff and other Bonners are here to support and facilitate that experience for you, but as with all of college - and throughout your life - you must take the lead role in your own education and development.
Community Engaged Fellowship Stages
In the Summer of 2020, the CCE has five paid, full time summer fellowships available for students. Four are domestic, and students can receive $4000 for at least 8 weeks of full time work. One fellowship is international, and students can receive up to $6000 for expenses and a stipend. To be eligible, you must complete your Application for Summer funding on Summit here before the end of Block 6.
Full time summers of community engagement are critical to your development as a Community Engaged Fellow. They give you a glimpse into what it is like to work 40 hours per week with an organization on an issue, and offer extremely valuable personal and professional experience. We recommend that you spend at least two of your three summers working full time with a nonprofit or government agency on something you care about.
In the first summer, however, it is not uncommon to spend some time thinking about your first year at CC and in the Bonner program. Take stock of your experience and consider the following questions:
- What worked well for me this year in terms of establishing a social network at CC?
- What did I enjoy doing academically?
- What was I good at academically?
- What community engagement experiences were meaningful to me, and why?
- What community engagement experiences didn’t prove meaningful to me, and why?
- What kind of trajectory might I envision for myself?
- What classes do I need to take to achieve this trajectory?
- What kind of community engagement experience do I need to achieve this trajectory?
- Did I find someone(s) who could be a mentor for me?
It is also not uncommon to spend the first summer earning money. But keep in mind you have opportunities available to you to earn money working on something you care about through the CCE. The key is planning in advance and constant communication with CCE Staff.
The second summer is an ideal time to complete a full time summer of service. Consider continuing your work at the site you chose to work in throughout your first year, or consider working on the same issue at a different site in your hometown. Consider also how you might expand your perspective on the issue on which you are focused by spending the academic year working in Colorado Springs, the second summer at a different domestic site, and then sharpening your experience by spending your third summer abroad. There are many possibilities if you develop a trajectory for yourself, make a plan, and communicate actively with CCE staff to bring that plan to reality.
The third summer is an excellent time to complete a summer of community engagement abroad. It’s possible that you could continue your time abroad after completing blocks or a semester abroad in the junior year. Or, if you have not had a chance to study abroad during the academic year, the third summer could be the ideal time for you to spend at least two months working with a partner and issue of your choosing. The key is understanding how this experience fits into your trajectory, making a plan with CCE staff early on, and putting forward a competitive application to spend your summer abroad in the time between your junior and senior years.
By the time you graduate, if you completed two summers of community engagement and all of your hours throughout the four years you spent at Colorado College, you will have accumulated almost a full year of full time work experience in addition to graduating with your Bachelors degree. Be proud, and celebrate! And as you look back, we hope you will see the Community Engaged Fellowship and Bonner Program as opportunities that allowed you to advance your leadership skills for the purpose of serving the public good. And remember: we selected you to participate in the program because of your potential to be an outstanding civic leader - not because we expected that you were that already. This remains true even after you graduate. We are all works in progress, all of us in the process of becoming. Being an effective leader requires patience with yourself, it requires caring for yourself, it requires protecting your joy and paying attention to your energy levels. Community includes you!
Making it to graduation means you have likely found ways to take care of yourself, to prepare yourself to do this work for the long haul. You made it to Colorado College, you made it into the Bonner program, and you have now made it through CC and the Bonner program. We hope you have built trust in yourself, built trust with other Bonners in your cohort as well as older students in the program, and built strong relationships of trust with CCE staff. These people will be here for you throughout your life.
Building and maintaining these relationships, like taking care of yourself, is a daily task. It requires work hour by hour at your service site, day after day in the community, block after block in the classroom, and year after year in this program. We hope you will take what you learned in this program about making a difference, about taking good care of yourself, about building strong relationships with other students and staff and move out into the world to be a changemaker for life. The skills you developed led not only to success as an undergraduate in the Bonner Program; we believe they will help you succeed in the world.