As the Bonner Program initiative expanded and matured, it became clear that the Program needed to communicate more clearly the values and commitments that guide each program. The Common Commitments came out of a year-long dialogue with members of the Bonner community -- including students, faculty, administrators, and community leaders across the country -- during the Foundation's tenth anniversary in 1999.
About the Bonner Program
Washington and Lee University is one of 28 college and university campuses to participate in the Bonner Program. These institutions receive support from the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J. The Bonner Program enhances and deepens a student's education and commitment to social responsibility.
Six "Common Commitments,"identified by the Bonner Foundation, guide the service and training of Bonners:
- social justice
- civic engagement
- spiritual exploration
- international perspective
- community building.
Bonners participate in service based on their career, educational, and service interests. Past Bonners have held positions at a variety of agencies, ranging from free clinics and economic development organizations to women's abuse shelters and nutritional programs.
Opportunities for Bonner Scholars
There are numerous opportunities and benefits available to Bonners:
- Receive work-study wages for service in the local community
- Access to funding for summer internships
- Group service trips funded through the Bonner Program
- Opportunity to apply for the AmeriCorps program, which provides educational awards that can be put toward students loans and graduate school
- A community of peers who share the same passion for social justice
- Mentoring from Bonner Program staff
- A structured leadership development program, that includes guest speakers, focused-skills training, and leadership workshops.
- Access to funding for conferences and trainings focused on social justice and leadership
- Connections with students at other Bonner schools and other networking opportunities
Bonners are expected to participate in the Bonner Program during their four years at W&L, completing 1800-hours of service and leadership training. Bonners participate in at least 280 hours of service and leadership training during each academic year and are encouraged to complete two summers of full-time service.
In addition to these general commitments, Bonners are expected to:
- Participate in Bonner Cornerstone activities, such as Orientation, First-Year Service Trip, Sophomore Service Exchange, and Senior Service Capstone Presentation
- Submit required program paperwork in a timely manner
- Participate fully in the Bonner Program by assuming leadership roles in the community and the Bonner Program
- Participate in a student developmental model that challenges and supports each Bonner Scholar to develop her or his skills, knowledge, commitments, and responsibilities
- Commit to making connections between his or her service and education at W&L