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Oberlin College Congress Proposal

Page history last edited by Krista Forbes 10 years, 6 months ago




Title of your College or University:  Oberlin College


Names of Students Attending:  Cindy Camacho, Chloe Pak Drummond, Syrea Thomas



Name of Your Big Idea:  Recruitment & Selection




The Bonner Scholars program at Oberlin College and Conservatory is not as visible and supported as it needs to be. Not only does the Bonner Scholars program offer 15 students in each graduating year an opportunity to develop into engaged and conscious citizens, but it is also an integral part of what makes Oberlin College and Conservatory unique. It is a prime example of the social justice ethos of the institution. We have found that these aspects of our program are not recognized to the fullest degree. 

In addition, on average, the number of applications that come into the Bonner Scholars office each year is twenty. This low number of applications makes it difficult to be selective and find a diverse group of students who can best represent and commit to the program. 

The Oberlin Bonner Scholars director, Donna Russell, takes on the responsibility of making the recruitment and selection process run smoothly. It is important that Bonner Scholars are involved in this process because they have the ability to recognize the passion and commitment needed to be a Bonner Scholar. However, Oberlin Bonner Scholars do not take advantage of the kind of involvement that they can have in this process. 



Big Idea


As Congress Representatives, we want to improve on our recruitment and selection process in terms of visibility of the Bonner Scholars program through the College admissions office, the involvement of current Bonner Scholars, and the retention of first and second-year Bonner Scholars. 

The lack of representation of the Bonner Scholars program during prospective students’ visits leads to a smaller applicant pool during the selection process. 

The lack of current Bonner Scholar involvement in the recruitment process leads to a smaller applicant pool. During the selection process, when current Bonner Scholars are not involved in reviewing applications, they do not feel as connected and invested in the incoming class. 

There is a lack of communication between incoming first-year Bonner Scholars and older Bonner Scholars, which creates disconnect within the Bonner community. This fosters a lack of the guidance and support necessary for first-year Bonners when they arrive at Oberlin. Communication between older and younger Bonners would not only help connection within the community, but would also help the younger Bonners feel less overwhelmed with the program requirements. It is the current sense of disconnect and/or overwhelming responsibility that will, on occasion, lead a Bonner Scholar to leave the program. 



Action Plan


Intended Contacts:


  • Student: Bonners (juniors and seniors for mentors, everyone for committee and welcome presentation)
  • Staff: Donna Russell (Director of the Bonner Scholars Program), Farah Emeka (Assistant Director of Admissions), Tom Abeyta (Associate Director of Admissions), BCSL staff
  • Faculty: Gina Perez, Ann Cooper-Albright
  • Community Member: George Jones Farm, Early Childhood Center, Oberlin Community Services, Hot Meals, New Union Center for Arts, Oberlin Choristers.


In order to address the issue of visibility, we propose to work with the admissions office to create a Spring Day of Service during one of the “fly-in” weekends. Prospective students will have the chance to do a few hours of community service at various sites in Oberlin. The Bonner Scholars will be the site leaders, but all of the campus will be invited to join. At the end of the Day of Service, after reflecting in groups, Bonners will get the chance to talk about the Bonner Scholars program. Prospective students will be invited to talk with the Bonner site leader immediately after the reflection and attend a brief information and welcome session at the Bonner Center for Service and Learning. 

In order to address the issue of Bonner Scholar involvement in the recruitment and selection process, we propose two plans of action. The first is to have Bonner Scholars involved in prospective student events such as the Spring Day of Service mentioned above. Other events that are scheduled for the prospective students’ visit that Bonner Scholars should attend are the information sessions at the Multicultural Resource Center and prospective student initial gatherings. The second plan of action is to form a temporary Selection Process Committee. The committee would be made-up of the members of the Bonner Reflection, Community Fund, and Activities Committees. They would all be required to attend at least one of the application review sessions.

Finally, in order to address the issue of communication between younger and older Bonner Scholars, we would assign incoming first-years to an older Bonner Scholar mentor immediately upon accepting them into the program. The mentor would be responsible for contacting the new Bonner Scholar and for checking-in with him/her/zer when he/she/ze arrives to campus. The mentor would remain in contact with the first-year throughout the year in order to guide them through their community service site selection process and their first year at Oberlin. 



Anything Else


As Bonner Congress Representatives, we will gain experience in organizing large groups of people. We will also enhance our networking skills. These tools will help us fulfill our proposed project. Our vision is that this project be sustainable and be carried out by our successors for the greater growth of our Bonner program. 


Which Groups Will You Be In?

From the list below, please list which groups best connect to your idea. We will have people work in groups during the meeting.  (If you don't know, we'll try to place you based on your proposal).



Review the guidelines on the project before getting started: Bonner Congress Project Proposal Guidelines.pdf

For a written proposal example click here: Mock Congress Proposal .pdf

For a video example click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz7Nbw7XFTI



Update - Report to Share in the 20th Anniversary Congress Booklet

We intend to create a beautifully designed book to be distributed at the 20th Anniversary Summer Leadership Institute that shares with the entire Bonner Network the work of Congress Representatives in 2009-2010 on their big ideas. Please write your report in the format below. For an example, click on this page:  http://bonnernetwork.pbworks.com/Big-Idea-Summaries


1) Title (of your project/big idea - feel free to update from the fall).


2) The Case: Tell us briefly the history of the challenge you tackled with your Big Idea. This should be no more than 100 words.


3) The Solution:  What is your Big Idea?  What was the idea to tackle this challenge?  This should be no more than 300 words.


4) The Process: Tell us in more detail what your Big Idea is.  Please illustrate how your “Big Idea” addresses the root issues of the problems you are working with.  What are the specific issues, needs, or gaps your idea sought to improve and how did it improve them?  This should be no more than 500 words (two paragraphs).


Please upload 2-3 relevant photos (of your Reps, project, etc.).  Try to select photos that have high resolution quality. This will appear in the booklet.


The deadline for this update if you want your school to be considered and included in the book is FRIDAY, APRIL 30th!




March 2010


June 2010




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