Bonners are undergraduate students who utilize their academic talents to lead community change through service. They help to build a world that is more just, peaceable, and humane through direct service, professional development and scholarly examination of injustice. Some of Siena College's partner organizations work with at-risk youth, people suffering from disability and addiction, immigrants, formerly incarcerated and other marginalized populations.

The Bonner program is a four-year commitment for students who commit to serving with the community during their time at Siena, combining their service with academics and career goals. Placements are developmental, moving students through increasing levels of experience and responsibility across the four years. This program is unique because students get the opportunity to focus on social justice issues locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Bonner Developmental Progression


First Year The summer after their first year, students embark on a first-year cultural immersion trip to West Virginia that is linked to a course in Rural Poverty. Students are exposed to rural poverty on this trip and learn about the experiences of members in a rural community. 
Second Year Students develop leadership skills at their site, in the program, and on campus through the Sophomore Step It Up process. Leadership opportunities include serving as Site Team Leader, coordinating a Bonner event or trip, or serving on the Bonner Leadership Team (BLT).
Third Year Students explore poverty and community development through an international perspective as they choose an engaged study abroad experience or one of Siena's international service abroad trips. 
Fourth Year Students complete a senior capstone in which they culminate their four-year experience in a final thesis and presentation at the Academic Showcase.


Throughout a Bonner's career, they get the opportunity to experience:

  • Community Building: Bonner Leaders enroll in common coursework as a cohort; attend weekly meetings as class-year cohorts, site-based teams and as a full Bonner Leader team; and build communities of service on their floor, in their residence halls, classes, among friends and in clubs and organizations.
  • Civic Engagement: Bonner Leaders are active participants in the democratic processes of their communities. In their Sophomore year, students engage in policy research, culminating in the development of a policy issue brief.
  • Diversity: Bonner Leaders serve in urban, rural, and international communities with a diverse group of people. Bonner Leaders incorporate diversity and their experiences within the community into their academic coursework and weekly Bonner trainings. Bonner Leaders place a focus on being allies, educating themselves about social justice issues, and broadening Dr. King's Beloved Community. 
  • International Perspective: Bonner Leaders experience at least one international trip in their tenure at Siena, spending time getting to know a community abroad.
  • Social Justice: Bonner Leaders pursue the root causes of poverty in their service sites and through their academic coursework, and seek to address those root causes in and through social change projects.
  • Spiritual Perspective: Bonner Leaders explore the spiritual dimension of service and partnership with the poor and marginalized in the tradition of Saint Francis of Assisi.


Financial Support

All Bonner Service Leaders are paid for their work in the community through a combination of Federal College Work Study Funds and other institutional funding streams. Bonners will receive a paycheck every two weeks. The amount of the check will be based on the exact number of the hours they have served in the community. This typically will reflect about 8-10 hours/week of service. To receive this funding, Bonners complete time cards every other week and receive direct deposit or check payments every two weeks. 


Opportunities to Grow Personally and Professionally

  • Guidance and support from ACE administrative staff
  • Professional development opportunities that will enhance a variety of skills
  • Opportunities to make close friends in college, many who have similar values and interests
  • A chance to network with Bonner Service Leaders from other schools as well as Siena AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows

A Chance to Connect Academics with Community Engagement

  • ACE will get to know you and your interests, help you determine a service site in which to do your community engagement work, and work with you to pursue your career goals
  • Participate in an enriched, hands-on academic pathway to a career in community service and engagement with a Certificate in Community Development

Bonner Spotlights