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 a student at one site that aims to combine 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. Siena College is the only higher education institution in New York with this program.
Throughout a Bonner's career, he or she gets 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.
- Diversity: Bonner Leaders work in the most diverse communities of the Capital Region, their home communities and across the world. Bonner Leaders value diversity, incorporate it into their academic coursework and train to be effective global team members.
- International Perspective: Bonner Leaders experience at least one international trip in their first two years at Siena and spend five weeks in an international community development internship.
- 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.