Solutions Summit Guidelines


Any clarification of rules or guidelines will be issued in writing to all participating teams in a timely manner and no less than (x) weeks prior to the competition. No school may alter the language of these rules without the approval of The Bonner Foundation and the writers of the Competition Guidelines; however the Competition Guidelines will be reviewed for relevance each year, and rules may be added or deleted, so long as the language inserted is the original text contained in the official Competition Guidelines. All teams are responsible and will be held accountable for the conduct of persons associated with their teams throughout the competition.



Competitions will be judged by a panel of adjudicators chosen by the Bonner Foundation. Questions or interpretations of these rules are within the discretion of the Bonner Foundation and the chosen panel of adjudicators, whose decision is final.

Code of Conduct:

The panel of adjudicators possesses discretion to impose punitive measures for any misconduct occurring while a team is present for the competition, for flagrant rule violations, and for breaches of decorum which affect the conduct of the competition or which impugn the reputation or integrity of any team, school, individual, adjudicator, or the competition.


  • During the competition, the panel of adjudicators shall have discretion to declare an emergency and adjourn the competition for a short period of time to address the emergency.
  • In the event of an emergency that would cause a team to be unable to continue in the competition or to participate with less than x members, the team must notify the Bonner Foundation as soon as is reasonably practical. If the Bonner Foundation, or the panel of adjudicators, in its sole discretion, agrees that an emergency exists, the Foundation, or panel, shall declare an emergency and will decide whether the team will forfeit or may direct that the team take appropriate measures to continue with the competition with less than x members. A penalty may be assessed.
  • A forfeiting team will receive a loss and points totaling the average number of points received by the losing teams.
  • Final determination of emergency, forfeiture, reduction of points, or advancement, will be made by the panel of adjudicators.


  • There will be a designated timekeeper for the entirety of the competition. This person is responsible for timing all of the teams who will be presenting during the competition. Each team is given a 15 minute block to present their competition submission. The time keeper will alert the team when they have 10, 5, 2 and 1 minute left with the time remaining cards as well as signal when they have reached the 15 minute time limit.
  • Each team is to use a set of “Time Remaining” cards with designations to signal specific time intervals. The host committee will provide “Time Remaining” cards and timekeeper instruction materials.  

The Policy Question/Issue:

The policy issue at hand will be decided upon the Bonner Foundation and sent to participating schools no later than January 15th, in order to give teams time to prepare for the competition.

Team Eligibility:

  • Competing teams are to be comprised of students who participate in the current Bonner programs at their schools./Competing teams are to be comprised of students from participating Bonner schools, but teams need not be comprised of all Bonner Service Leaders.
  • If any student participant from a competing team is unable to compete, another student may substitute for such participant as provided herein.  The individual acting as the substitute must be enrolled as a student at that school.
  • By the third year of the competition, an additional requirement of a functioning policy options bureau.

Team Composition:

  • Teams consist of 6 official members assigned to various roles, all of which will participate in the competition.  
  • At no time may any team for any reason substitute other persons for official team members. The official Team Roster will become official at the time of on site registration.

Team Presentation:

Teams must present their Policy Presentation using all 6 members equally participating.

Team Roster Form:

Copies of the Team Roster Form must be completed and duplicated by each team prior to arrival at the competition.

Presentation Framework

  1. Opening Statements: The opening statements should introduce the team’s interpretation of the policy issue and why it is relevant to their community.
  2. Policy Proposal: The proposal of the policy should state the team’s vision for addressing the issue.
  3. Implementation Plan: During this time, the team should discuss in detail their plan for implementing their ideas.
  4. Closing Statements: Each team should conclude their presentation with a brief summary of why their policy proposal is original, plausible, sustainable.
  5. Questions: Following the presentation, opposing teams may direct questions to the presenting team, provided they are relevant to the policy proposal. Each team is permitted to prepare questions individually or collectively; however only one team member is allowed to ask the question.

Panel’s Critique:

After 5 minutes of debriefing and scoring, each judge on the panel will is allotted 3 minutes to explain their thoughts on the presentation. The timekeepers will monitor the critique following the presentation. They will not verbalize the specific scores they have awarded the team, but will give their general opinion of the presentation for each category. All decisions of the judging panel are FINAL.

Time Limits:

The policy presentation time limits are as follows:

  1. Opening Statements (2 minutes)
  2. Policy Proposal (6 minutes)
  3. Implementation Plan (5 minutes)
  4. Closing Statements (2 minutes)


  • During the competition, timekeepers are to act as a neutral entity. Timekeepers are not to communicate with their respective teams during the course of the presentation, questioning, or during the panel’s comments, except to display the time remaining cards and indicate (as directed by the presiding judge) how much time is remaining during a particular part of the trial.
  • Points will be deducted for a team presenting for longer than 15 minutes.

Supplemental Material:

Teams may refer only to the following materials during their presentation:

  • Any visual/illustrative aids such as posters, online presentations, pictures, videos, etc.
  • List of sources for reference
  • Notes for speaking assistance

Competition Communication:

Professors, other school personnel, and observers shall not talk to, signal, communicate with, or advise their teams during the trial. Team members may, among themselves, communicate during their presentation or during others in order to formulate and compile questions; however, no disruptive communication is allowed. Signaling of time by the teams’ timekeepers shall not be considered a violation of this rule.

Use of Notes:

Students may use notes for speaking assistance in presenting their policy, and may consult with team members during their presentation verbally or through the use of notes. The use of laptops or other electronic devices is prohibited.

Verification of Sources:

In order to ensure validity of information, judges will be allotted time to verify a minimum of 3 sources used in each policy presentation.

Composition of Judging Panels:

The judging panel will consist of 3 individuals. The composition of the judging panel will be consistent throughout the competition, as follows:

  • One member of the Bonner Foundation
  • One community partner
  • One program director from a school, not directly involved in the competition

All judges receive the Competition Guidelines, an outline of the current policy issue, team roster forms, and a laptop in order to verify sources.

Score Sheets/Ballots:

The term “ballot” will refer to the decision made by a scoring judge as to which team made the best overall presentation. The term “score sheet” is used in reference to the form on which points are recorded. The team that earns the the highest points on an individual judge’s score sheet is the winner of that ballot. The team that receives the majority of the 3 ballots wins the competition. Judges may discuss any special awards that may be given, but the judging panel should not discuss individual team scores.

Completion of Score Sheets:

Each scoring judge shall record a number of points (1-10) for each presentation of the trial. At the end of the trial, each scoring judge shall total the sum of each team’s individual points, place this sum in the Total Points box, and enter the team with the higher total number of points in the tie-breaker box. NO TIE IS ALLOWED IN THE TOTAL POINTS BOXES.

Team Scoring:

Teams will be scored (1-10) based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Plausibility
  • Sustainability


The overall winning team will be awarded a prize as the competition winner. There are also sub categories including Best Presentation, Best Solutions, and Most Sustainable. These winners will be nominated by the judges, who must come to a consensus as to which teams they feel deserve each award.