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West Chester Annual Report 2007-2008

Page history last edited by Donna Carney 12 years ago

Annual Report – Programmatic Section



Implementation of Student Development: 


The Bonner AmeriCorps Leaders Program is offered through the Honors College to rising sophomores with a heart to serve in their communities. They have already gone through the freshman recruitment process through personal interviews that clearly expect candidates to show leadership ability and a commitment to service.  Through personal experience and contacts through Honors and the university volunteer office, students choose the sites that best fit their passion to help others.   Students must be members of the Honors College core or Seminar Programs and be in good standing academically to apply.   Bonners meet monthly with the Director for reflections and an opportunity to share site successes and challenges and get feedback from other Bonners. 


Honors faculty connected with the ropes course offers students an opportunity during our winter break to experience a Katrina relief project.  They've gone to Mississippi the last two years and Bonners have had enriching experiences in helping others and listening to their incredible stories of survival.  Nearly all core courses and some seminars have components of civic engagement or community service.


As a Leader school, our students successfully complete their service in either a one or two year term, including the Summer Leadership Institute.


Students must complete the honors core before beginning their final journey through the capstone process.  They write their own 'passion statement' prior to meetings with the Director of Service Learning and the capstone faculty mentor.  Ideas must be original and sustainable projects are encouraged - finding another way to build upon a project causes students to stretch.  Capstone proposals must be approved and the faculty mentor is available throughout the term for advising and site visits.  A completed journal is required, the project must have specific goals and be quantitatively measured.  A final paper completes the 'jewel in the crown.'  


Implementation of Community Partnerships: 



Bonners are given multiple opportunities for public speaking through their classes, which build their confidence in working with site supervisors, fellow voluneers and specific populations.  The Coordinator is in contact with each supervisor and meets with them as needed for follow up during a student's term of service. The Borough of West Chester and surrounding communities hold several sites for students to serve with easy access on foot or personal car. 


This year, we are partnered wth the Care Center, West Chester Day Care, Barclay Friends Nursing Home, Chester County Hospital Nutrition Office, Newtown Square Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Camp Abilities (adapated physical education for developmentally challenged children and adults).


I am in contact with site supervisors either by phone or in person to confirm a Bonner's CLA is being implemented.  Students are encouraged to review the CLA at the end of each term to see how they can enhance for the following semester. They are pleasantly surprised at the progress and insites gleaned from just one semester of service and often their Service and Learning objectives take on a deeper dimension.   


Campus-wide Culture and Infrastructure: 


Most courses have some component of civic engagement or community involvement.  Students involved in the Undergraduate Certificate Program through Civic Engagement participate in the WCU Leadership Series and S.A.I.L. Programs where they hone their skills in personal leadership development.   Students who are comfortable recruiting for the Honors College have no trouble asking their peers to shadow them or consider a Bonner at their site.  This gives a potential Leader the opportunity to see if 'the shoe fits.'  Because our Program is offered to academically qualified rising sophomores in Honors, our students have one academic year to consider where they would like to enhance their passion for service to a specific site.  The Office of Service Learning is an excellent resource for finding a site or area of service; the annual volunteer fair, held early in the fall, presents students with a variety of options for a Bonner placement.    I am pleased with their sense of satisfaction as they complete each step and experience not only some personal progress but positive changes in the lives of those they serve.  

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