Introduction to the Bonner Fellowship
What is the Bonner Fellowship?
Are you committed to making the world a better place?
Do you want to develop the skills and techniques needed to be an effective changemaker?
Then the Bonner Fellowship might be for you!
The Bonner Fellowship is a highly selective four-year, cohort-based opportunity designed to help develop student leaders from underrepresented backgrounds who seek to transform their communities and our world. Bonner Fellows (also known solely as "Bonners") are paid to work alongside the community for the duration of their college career, committing to around 24 hours a block of engagement-- through this funding venture, students from less privileged backgrounds have the opportunity to work in a sustained way on a community issue they care about. Bonners participate in a curriculum of weekly workshops (known as our CCE Changemaker Curriculum), trainings, guest speaker panels, and discussions as part of their paid fellowship hours as well. These co-curricular training and enrichment exercises afford students the opportunity to identify, develop, and integrate personal identities with civic engagement passions, academic studies, and career interests. Additionally, each incoming Bonner student is paired with a CCE staff member who serves as their Community Engagement Advisor throughout the first year-- during subsequent years, students choose which CCE staff member they would like to work closely with. Bonner students join a cohort of nine other peers when they enter into the Fellowship at Colorado College, and will have many opportunities to reflect and build community with the returning Bonner students through reflection groups, all-Bonner meetings, and special cornerstone events like Bonner Fall and Spring Retreats.
By following the Bonner model, Colorado College joins a vibrant, nationally recognized network of more than 60 participating colleges and universities ranging from Oberlin College to Brown University. 85% of Bonners are Pell-eligible, and Bonner prioritizes students of color and first generation college students. In the process of becoming a Bonner, students enter into a large and ever-growing network of 19,000 other students and alumni all across the country and world.
Starting in the 2021-2022 academic year, two of our Fellows will be generously supported by the El Pomar Scholarship, which was “created to encourage talented and passionate students from Colorado to pursue a career in public policy or nonprofit work by covering the annual cost of tuition and fees, standards dorm room, and meal plan at Colorado College.” Each year the two recipients of the El Pomar Scholarship will be supported through the Bonner Community in their engaged learning, action, and reflection.
How do I apply?
Bonner Fellows are chosen based on a competitive application process that includes a written application, an individual interview, and a group interview. Only incoming first-years are allowed to apply at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do Bonner Fellows commit to over their four years at Colorado College?
The Community Engaged Fellowship is a unique opportunity to develop and apply skills and knowledge in a sustained community engagement program designed to cultivate civic leadership. Fellows are expected to apply rigor and invest deeply in their community work - just as they rigorously approach and invest in their academic work. Students are also expected to work collaboratively and authentically with community partners and CCE staff, both seeking out and remaining open to ongoing guidance, support, feedback, and routine, close communication. The Fellowship provides students a $2,100 stipend (this number varies slightly depending on the state designated minimum wage rate) to support their work in the community each year, enabling sustained community engaged work over all four years of a student's experience.
In short, Community Engaged Fellows commit to the following:
- A four-year commitment to being part of the Bonner Fellowship at Colorado College
- Around 24 hours of community work and engaged learning per block (an average of 6-8 hours per week)
- A Bonner orientation and yearlong adjunct course for first-year students
- Two all-Bonner social retreats - one in the fall and one in the spring
- Participation in Bonner Cornerstone activities each year, including: the First Year Trip, the Sophomore Exchange, the Capstone Project, and the Senior Presentation of Learning
- Attendance at weekly and/or blockly Bonner meetings for community-building, discussion and reflection, learning, and skill-building
- Attendance at issue-based coalition meetings to support issue-focused learning and relationship-building within one chosen area
You can read more about the Bonner Fellowship opportunities here.
I’m an international student. Can I still be a part of the Community Engaged Fellowship?
We appreciate and welcome all international students in the Bonner Fellowship at Colorado College. International students will complete a four-year themed trajectory of exploration, commitment and experience, capacity-building, and academic integration along with their peers. Depending on current immigration policies, however, there are a few stipulations to the kind of work international fellows can perform off-campus.
International students who are Bonner Fellows can only work at Community Partner Sites where the Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE) has an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or through sites that are educationally-affiliated with an international students' chosen academic major. For that reason, first year international Bonners who are in their exploration phase will need to only work at community partner sites designated as “High Impact Partner” sites, or at sites that are visited formally through the CCE’s BreakOut student organization.
All Bonners in their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year at CC who are international students will set up a Community Learning Agreement with the site of their choosing as well as a MOU, if it does not already exist. International students will need to communicate clearly with CCE staff about their chosen site, so that we can assist in this process. Once a site has been chosen for the semester, CCE staff will then send the completed CLA and MOU to the Global Studies Office, who maintains files for each international student.
Additionally, students with an F-1 visa can work up to 20 hours per week on campus while school is in session. The 20 hour per weeks is a total of 20 hours, with all on-campus positions combined. If a Bonner Fellow has another on-campus job, they will need to be sure not to work more than 20 hours per week between that on-campus job and the Bonner Fellow position. During official school breaks, the international student could do on-campus employment full-time.
For further questions, please reach out to both the CCE and Global Studies office.
How does the Bonner Fellowship build community?
Through the Fellowship:
The Bonner Fellowship helps students build a sense of community on campus by linking them together as a cohort, and by connecting them to the larger group of Bonners on CC’s campus. The Fellowship brings Bonners together through orientation, retreats, as well as regular cohort meetings. These cohort meetings, in particular, provide space for Bonners to grow together as a group - learning from the experiences of one another. Cohort discussions introduce Bonners to a diverse array of experiences and perspectives and aid students in forming values and exploring positions on a host of issues. Cohort meetings also deepen students’ understanding of the issues facing the Colorado Springs community and Pikes Peak region, build pre-professional skills, and encourage the integration of civic engagement passions with academic study and career interest.
Fellows are also encouraged to build community with student organizations, administrators, and faculty across the CC campus. Bonners are introduced to key campus contacts at Orientation, and they are supported in taking on campus leadership roles throughout their time at CC.
Fellows are also encouraged to participate in BreakOut trips, direct service opportunities that are offered every Saturday and most block breaks. Both Saturday Trips and Block Break trips are excellent, regular opportunities to engage in meaningful work with other CC students while also meeting your hour commitment.
Bonners also build community beyond campus through sustained work with community partners. Bonners will be introduced to select community leaders during their orientation and throughout first-year programming and will be provided a curated list of ongoing community engagement opportunities to explore.
What role do CCE staff play in the Bonner Fellowship?
CCE staff members run the Bonner Fellowship at Colorado College. We help Bonner students learn the fundamentals of social change work, discern their professional identities, and work with them to think through the ways their engagement work can be integrated into their academics. Bonners are encouraged to communicate closely with our staff throughout their career, including about any challenges they may face - on campus or in the community - and to work with them as well as other Bonners to continually improve the Bonner Fellowship experience at CC.
What is the Bonner Network?
Colorado College belongs to a vibrant, nationally recognized Bonner network of more than 60 participating colleges and universities ranging from Oberlin College to Brown University. The ‘Bonner model’ has emerged as a valuable resource for colleges seeking to create developmental pathways that enable students to integrate their coursework, research, service, internship experiences, and other opportunities into a community-engaged capstone project. The Bonner network includes local, national, and international non-profit organizations, 15,000+ Bonner alumni, and professional staff and faculty from a host of backgrounds and disciplines. Bonner also hosts multiple national meetings each year, providing professional development and networking opportunities for Fellows. The Bonner network is vast, linking faculty, staff, students, and community partners who have extensive experience in community engagement on college campuses and come from diverse backgrounds.
How does the Bonner Fellowship work with the block plan?
Bonners plan their work schedules around their class commitments each block. While some students enjoy doing direct service with one community partner organization every week at a certain time, other students enjoy the flexibility of project-based work and/or community organizing initiatives. We encourage prospective applicants to reach out to one of our current Bonner students to talk through their experiences, and/or read "A Day in the Life" document here prepared by two of our current Bonner students.
As a Fellow, will I be committed to one organization for all four years, even if I decide I don’t want to work there anymore?
Colorado College’s Bonner Fellowship allows students to explore their interests by working at a variety of sites on a variety of issues during their first year. Through this experiential process, students discern which issues they are most passionate about working on - and are encouraged to begin thinking about various forms of engagement work and partner organizations that they would like to work more closely with. Bonner students have the autonomy to decide where and how they would like to engage throughout their college experiences, however, they are asked to commit to a specific issue they care about to allow them to develop significant knowledge and experience within that area.
Our Bonner Fellowship seeks to foster reciprocally beneficial relationships between community partners and students, and in doing so, find balance through supporting community partner needs with student passions, student interests, and student abilities.
Does my Bonner Fellowship account for my federal work study?
In short, yes! Your Bonner Fellowship stipend takes the place of your federal work study award. It is the same amount as a Federal Work Study award and is distributed on an hourly basis according to the engagement hours you log.
Will transportation to organizations be provided?
Transportation for community engagement efforts vary, though common methods include walking, biking, bussing, and carpooling. The CCE has a bikeshare program with 10+ bikes that are available for free check-out for students to engage in the community, and we also are in the process of establishing a CCE carshare program where licensed students can rent out a car to get to sites that are farther away or less accessible during the wintertime. Colorado College also offers free public transportation passes for students who wish to use the Mountain Metro local bus system.