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Rider Annual Report 2007-2008

Page history last edited by Heather Brisby 12 years ago

Annual Report – Programmatic Section


Please complete this template below to share programmatic highlights.  The entire report can be three pages or less.  Please share information and highlights, in a letter-like or reporting format, that addresses the following three categories and provides a synopsis of your Bonner Program this year.


Implementation of Student Development: 

Trainings, courses and meetings:

     The Rider Community Scholar/ Bonner Leader program begins with a weekend orientation in the fall during which the students build community, learn the policies and procedures of the program, and participate in pre-reflection activities to help them in their service work.  Day 1 of Orientation is for new members only and Day 2 is the entire Corps. 

     During the academic year, Bonner Leaders meet frequently by class year.  Freshmen in the program meet twice a month; Sophomores meet twice a month and the Junior and Senior classes meet, combined, once a month.  An All Corps meeting is held once per month.  Students also have weekly or bi-weekly site based meetings.  In our class meetings, students write/ share journal entries about their service experiences and participate in group reflections.  We also utilize campus-wide presentations as catalysts for discussion. 

     Bonner Leaders received a “re-orientation” following their Winter Break.  It consisted of coming back to campus a day early to participate in our campus-wide “Leadership Day”.  This was a day filled with a keynote presentation and small group activities/ discussion.  It enables the Bonners to connect with others campus leaders and become motivated for the Spring semester.  Orientation continued the Saturday following Leadership Day with a Habitat for Humanity project in the morning and  training/ reflection in the afternoon. 

     Several Bonner Leaders (primarily Site-Based Team Leaders, interns and Congress reps) attend the SGA Retreat over the summer.  During this two day retreat they attend workshops to help them as campus leaders; network with their peers; and, discuss possible collabortations for the coming academic year.


First Year Trip:

During 2007-2008, we did a much better job of publicizing and enrolling students in first year service trip.  Students whose first year in the program was 06-07 were invited to participate in the first year service trip to Philadelphia.  During this trip, we expose students to a type of service work completely different from the service work that they do on a regular basis through the Bonner program.  In 07-08, we participated in a community rehabilitation service project at Dunlap Community Center in West Philadelphia. At the end of each day the students participated in reflection and discussion. Next year, we look forward to an equally successful first year service trip. 


Second Year Exchange:

In summer 2008, several Bonner Leaders participated in a second year exchange through the Summer Leadership Institute.  Students who just completed their second year in the program are invited to SLI for the All Bonner Service track.  This is our second year exchange offering currently.  This is a wonderful opportunity which allows second year students to work in one of a variety of service projects and work side-by-side other Bonners from across the country, increasing networking opportunities.  This year, we had two students serve at a volunteer Toy Shop; two students built a house ramp for a woman confined to a wheelchair; two students assisting a refugee family to learn how to clean and care for their new home; and, one student volunteered at a nursing home.  The students enjoyed their service projects and getting to work with other Bonners from all over the country. In addition to the students participating in the service track, our senior Bonner Intern and Community Impact Intern attend the Intern track and the Congress Reps attend the Congress track.


Third year (and beyond) leadership roles:

This year, we added a new intern position, Community Impact Intern.  We also had a Senior Bonner Intern as in the past.  The two interns worked well together and for the coming year, we hope to even better align the two different intern positions.   We also had success with our Site Based Team Leader (SBTL) approach for each of our community partner sites.  In addition we had a Big Bonner-Little Bonner mentoring program where upper class (Soph, Jr, Sr) Bonners were mentors to first year Bonners to help assist them with not only the Bonner program, but adjusting to collge as well. We do hope to learn from last year and improve all around for the coming year.  To compliment the hard work of the SBTL, we are implementing Project Coordinators in 08-09 to give even more students in the program the opportunity to plan and lead service projects.   We also hope to better involve our Congress Reps into our program planning throughout the year. 


Senior capstone & presentation of learning:

This year, as in the past we have encouraged, but do not require, students to complete a senior capstone project.  However, we do ask for one or two seniors to make a presentation at our annual showcase and awards ceremony at the end of the year to their fellow corps members, family members, representatives from the Bonner Foundation, faculty, staff and administrators. A representative from each class year is also asked to make a presentation during that event to capture the year and reflect out loud on their experiences in the program. 


Senior corps members are called upon to serve in a leadership capacity in the program whether as a Site Based Team Leader, Project Coordinator, Big Bonner, presentor at meetings, etc.  



Implementation of Community Partnerships: 

Orienting and managing community partnerships (orientation, site visits, meetings, strategic planning):

In August 2007 we offered a Community Partner Orientation for the first time.  A representative from each of our seven community partners was present.  This orientation consisted of “Bonner 101,” Rider Community Scholar/ Bonner Leader overview and an open forum for questions and answers.  Our community partners were grateful for this orientation as they often have high staff turnover and a “review” of sorts is especially appreciated by newer staff members who may have never worked with a Bonner Leader before.  Our community partners in 07-08 consisted of:  Eggert’s Crossing Village, El Centro, HomeFront, Mercer Street Friends, Minding Our Business, Trenton After School Program and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.  At the orientation we also discussed key expectations for the 07-08 academic year. 


Throughout the year we keep in regular email and phone contact to ensue that the RCS/ Bonner Leader staff is offering the site supervisor support.  Approximately two site visits are made per semester as well to keep in regular contact.

At this time, we have not utilized our community partners in a strategic plan initiative solely for the RCS/ Bonner Leader program.  However, if/ when that is to occur our current seven community partners would certainly be invited to participate in such conversations/ planning due to their longstanding relationship with the the community service/ service-learning office at Rider University.   


Partners as co-educators and other unique initiatives (including new academic linkages):

We continue to refer to and respect our community partner supervisors and directors as co-educators.  We occasionally call on their expertise in educating our students at their site placement as well as in the classroom.  In exchange, we offer them University resources and meeting space for their organizations' programs as needed.


We continue to look for opportunities to pursue academic linkages such as community-based learning or policy research.  Some professors are doing CBL and research in conjunction with their classes; however it is difficult collecting that information and making those linkages with our Bonner program being co-curricular versus academic. 


We have not dedicated the time to doing CBL in conjunction with the Bonner Leader program; however it is something we encourage and promote within our program.  We try as often as possible to show students different avenues to get involved and guide them to faculty members we know are doing work in these areas. 


Integration of site-based or issue-oriented teams:

We continue to utilize a Site-Based Team model which works extremely well for our Bonner Leader program.  Typically upper-class corps members are appointed as Site- Based Team Leaders (SBTL).  A SBTL needs to be able to dedicate time to serving as the “backbone” of their site placement.  Each of our community partners has one SBTL and that individual has a team of 2-10 students who serve at that site with them.  It is up to the SBTL to organize and run weekly Site-Based Team meetings where they can reflect, organize, plan, etc. for the following week.  They can also work together in those meetings to address any issues or concerns a team member is having.  The Site-Based Team becomes a “family” within the larger Corps “family”.  They are all experiencing the same service work.  It is up to the members of the team to look after other family members and help them as needed.  If the SBTL sees someone on the team is struggling, then they need to bring that to everyone’s attention so it can be resolved as a group quickly.  If one team member is not pulling his weight, then it affects all of the other team members.  They are all accountable to one another.  It is imperative that each Site-Based Team have a strong start each academic year to ensure their success.   



Campus-wide Culture and Infrastructure: 

Our campus-wide culture of service is one that relies heavily on the Bonner Leaders.  Although there are many service opportunities for students to get involved in on and off campus, many people continue to look at the Bonner program as the main service-learning program on campus.  The staff continues to reach out to other student organizations and faculty involved in service-learning activities to try and bridge the "gap".  The university's Community Values statement declares that "true leadership is derived from service to others" and therefore our office operates on that philosophy.  It is that statement which is emphasized to our students from the time they step foot on campus as a first year student. 


Several faculty members do reach out and work with the Community Service/ Service-Learning office regularly.  The staff continues to reach out to those who have historically not been involved with the office to learn of their interest and what our office can do to assist them in their efforts.


Our Community Service/ Service-Learning has strong relationships with many departments on campus, including, but not limited to:  Admission (for recruiting purposes); Student Financial Service and Disbursements (for work study, Americorps and payroll purposes); Campus Life (for large campus-wide service activities, etc.); Campus Ministry; Study Abroad/ International Office; Multicultural Affairs;  Residence Life and Greek Life; University Advancement; Academic Affairs; Bursar's Office; Auxiliary Services; and the Student Government Association.


Our office is currently in the process of revamping our community service webpage.  We have hopes for it to be up and running for the 08-09 academic year.  It will be user friendly and will directly connect students looking to volunteer with current volunteer opportunities. 




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