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The Bonner Fellowship


In its pilot year at CC, the Bonner Fellowship was awarded to 5 select, dedicated fellows from the 540-student incoming first-year class. Bonner provides students, who have exemplified a strong history of community engagement and leadership experience, an opportunity to make an impact for the public good. The Bonner Fellowship allows students to pursue their areas of interest through meaningful internships in community-based organizations. Bonner fellows are part of an inclusive, diverse community that recruits and prioritizes students from underrepresented groups at Colorado College. In the Fall, Bonner Fellows will be matched with community-based organizations depending on partner needs and Fellow’s areas of interest. The Bonner Fellowship is a year-long opportunity that has the potential, depending on the success of the pilot and future funding, to support you for all four years of your college experience.

What is the Bonner Fellowship?

The Bonner Fellowship offers a select group of CC students: (1) a one-year intensive, paid internship experience with a community-based organization; and (2) provides a supportive community and opportunity for personal and professional growth through regular small group discussions and learning sessions. During the 2017-2018 year, the CCE is piloting this program, following a national model developed by the Bonner Foundation.  If the pilot is successful and more funding is secured, we hope to transition these fellowships into internships that last for all four of your college years, with your responsibilities within the organization increasing each year.

What does the Bonner Fellowship include?

The Bonner Fellowship allows students to make a difference and develop their areas of interest through a paid internship opportunity in community-based organizations, paired with group meetings with Bonner students working in other organizations. Throughout the year, students are expected to participate in the following:

  1. A Bonner orientation during block one
  2. At least 24 hours per block in internships with community organizations (an average of 6 hours per week). To maintain a consistent partnership, a minimum of 3 hours per week with community organizations is expected.  The remaining 12 hours may be scheduled in any weeks of the block depending on student schedules and partner needs.
  3. Attendance in weekly Bonner meetings for community-building, discussion/reflection, learning, and skill-building.
  4. Blockly Community Engagement Days, intended to build community among the small group while participating in meaningful public work
  5. Bonner retreat during second semester

Ongoing expectations: The Bonner Fellowship provides students the unique opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge base into their fellowships. Bonner Fellows function as ambassadors of Colorado College, and are expected to put the same amount of rigor and investment into their fellowships as their academic studies.  Additionally, students are expected to work collaboratively and authentically with partners and CCE staff, seeking and being open to ongoing guidance, support, feedback, and regular and close communication.

How Does Bonner Build Community?

The Bonner Fellowship builds a strong sense of belonging through creating a strong community of Fellows and encouraging on and off campus relationship building. The Bonner Fellowship meets these goals through group meetings, Community Engagement Days, and relationships with CCE staff and community partners.

An important part of the Bonner experience is group meetings to build a supportive community and allow students to identify, develop and integrate civic engagement passions, academic studies, and career interests. These meetings deepen students’ understanding of social and environmental issues as well as build skills for pre-professional development.  Bonners are given the opportunity to express what issues they would like to explore throughout the year, and CCE staff and partners co-design a schedule that incorporates these topics. Bonner students debrief and reflect upon their work during these meetings as well, encouraging intentionality and thoughtfulness.  In practice, these meetings can look like guest speakers, discussions, workshops, or trainings.

Bonner Fellows also participate in Community Engagement Days, intended to build community among the cohort while engaging in meaningful public work. These engagement days build citizenship skills, provide a way to learn about and address social and environmental issues in our community, and enable students to explore local community organizations. During these Engagement Days, Bonner Fellows are also given the opportunity to meet and network with members of other CC student organizations and the community while participating in small, community-engagement projects.

The Bonner Program also provides students the support of a Bonner advisor to help Bonners learn how to effect social change, discern their place in the professional world, and connect their fellowships to academic studies. Bonner Fellows are encouraged to communicate with CCE staff about any issues they may be encountering in their organizations to improve their Bonner Fellowship experience.

What is the Bonner Network?

The Bonner network encompasses a national network of higher education schools -- ranging in size from schools as large as The University of Houston to as selective as Brown University. Across all of these Bonner Programs, Bonner students are connected to the national network of Bonner Partner Organizations, community-engagement offices, fellows, and alumni. Bonner has annual conferences where Bonners can meet, network, and exchange experiences. This nationally recognized name will be an asset on resumes and applications after college.

How Does Bonner Work With the Block Plan?

Bonner allows students to plan their work schedules with organizations; however, students must spend 24 hours per block with community-based organizations. This added flexibility allows you to plan your schedule with your organization, based on your availability.

To accommodate the rhythm of the block plan, including field trips and fluctuating workloads that can differ by week, students commit to a blockly rather than a weekly hour expectation. This leaves flexibility for students to plan ahead and modify internship hours for intense blocks or weeks. It is recommended that students commit 6 hours per week to organizations to meet the 24 hour blockly expectation, but students are required to commit a minimum of 3 hours per week to their community organizations to maintain consistent partnerships. The remaining 12 hours per block may be scheduled according to the availability of students and needs of the organization and supervisors.

Will transportation to organizations be provided?

The CCE commits to providing transportation to organizations if students are unable to arrange their own transportation.

What does it mean to "Explore. Engage. Commit."?

Bonner encourages exploration of passions through working with organizations on local community issues, helping students discern their sense of purpose and articulate how they want to engage in issues that matter to them. Students are able to cultivate knowledge and pursue areas of interest through small group meetings and discussions as well as through their experience in a community-based organization.

All programs through the CCE focus on the importance of engaging in the Colorado Springs community. Bonner allows you to discover first-hand what issues this community identifies as concerns, and actively and collaboratively seek to address these issues.  In doing so, the program hopes to develop your skills of active citizenship, expose you to multiple forms of community engagement, deepen your understanding of democracy and social change, and provide you the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge to real-world, pressing social challenges.

The Bonner model emphasizes commitment. The CCE commits to providing Bonner Fellows education around social change and the public good; pre-professional, career-building development; connections to the national Bonner network; a Bonner advisor; and a position contributing meaningful work in a community-based or nonprofit organization. In return, Bonner Fellows must commit a year of deep work with a community partner and active participation in the small group.  We ask that all Fellows be interesting in and willing to  commit up to four years to the program if the pilot program proves successful.

Who are our current Bonner Partner Organizations?

Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI)
Colorado Springs School District 11
Meadows Park Community Center
Southern Colorado Health Network
City of Colorado Springs - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

Bonner Staff

Bonner Intern: Emily Ng
CCE Director: Jordan Radke

Logo Designed By: Keller Mochel