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Washington and Lee Year at a Glance

Page history last edited by Melissa Medeiros 9 years, 2 months ago

 

Washington & Lee University

 

Please complete responses to the following prompts by July 11, 2011.  To upload files or documents:  Click edit.  Click Images and files in the right sidebar. Find and upload your file from your computer or server.  You can also cut and paste it in.

 

Community Partnerships:


 

  • Big Brother, Big Sister Program: A group of six Bonners worked with the regional BBBS office to reestablish the program in the community. Budget cuts and limited staffing made the expansion more difficult than expected, but the students stepped up and helped recruit and screen more than 50 Big volunteers. While only a dozen matches were made, the group is working with the regional office to develop a more streamline and efficient process for making matches during the next academic year. The group has also developed a meeting and reporting structure to provide as much resources and assistance to the volunteers as possible. 
  • Community Financial Freedom. Following up on the 2010 CBR Credit Study conducted by a Bonner and another W&L student, a group of students (half of which are Bonners) have developed a new non-profit that will look to fill some of the gaps that the study highlighted, particularly the need for financial education and access to credit for low-income members of the local community. The group hopes to roll-out the education portion of their plan this coming fall. The group has also developed a strong and sustainable business plan and hopes to pursue funding to develop savings matching and low-interest, small loans program that will help individuals escape the cycle of payday lenders.  

 

Student Development:


 

  •  Bonner Program meeting structure. The group meets three times a month through three different types of meetings
    • All-Bonner meetings: These meetings are an opportunity to do general leadership trainings or social justice discussion. We also use it as an opportunity to do team-building activities and provide program updates/planning sessions
    • Class-based meetings: The group meets once a month as part of their class to do specific leadership trainings that are relevant to their developmental stage in the program. (The first-year group will meet more frequently during their first month and half in the program)
    • Issue-based teams: These groups are an opportunity for students to further explore topics related to their service sites. We currently have four groups -- Hunger and Homelessness, Youth Enrichment, Health and Human Services, and Community Development. The groups identify early in the school year the types of topics they are interested in learning more about and the Bonner coordinator and intern develop workshops or invite speakers to meet with the group to address their interests. Starting in the fall of 2011, these groups will also be tasked with choosing one topic they are intersted in tackling for the year. In the fall they will be responsible for organizing a forum or panel related to the topic, which will be open to the entire Unviersity and local communities. In the spring, they will develop a plan to take action on that topic, be it launching an awareness campaign, organizing a service day, or taking part in lobbying or other related advocacy or activist activities.   

 

  • Student leadership structure. Our Bonner Leadership Team was launched this past fall and is made up of the following representation:
      • Two student interns -- Cornerstone Activities Intern and Issue-based Team intern (head up the BLT)
      • Two Congress reps
      • Class rep from each class

 

          The groups goals are are as follows: 

    • Improve our campus culture of service. The group will look to organize small-scale service days/afternoons that encourage multiple student groups to get involved, particularly ones that don't usually interact. Additionally the group will look to take the lead and encourage other Bonners to take part in organizing national service days or activities for awareness weeks, e.g., MLK Day of Service and Hunger and Homelessness week
    • Build up the morale/community of the Bonner group. The group is tasked with planning one (optional) event each month that is focused on building the morale/community of the group. Past examples of events have included Bonner movie night; a potluck dinner, where each Bonner family brought a different dish; team-building activities; service days. The team will also play a role in acknowledging the great work/successes of students in the program.
    • Promoting the use of the Community Fund. The group oversees the program's community fund and promotes it amongst the program

 

Our Training and Enrichment Calendar.  W&L 2011-2012 T&E Roadmap.doc

 

 

Cornerstone Activities:


 

  • First Year Trip.  For the past two years our first-year group has traveled to Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia to work with the Big Ugly Community Center. Our trip takes place during our Spring Break (this past year it was April 17-22), and students have a variety of service opportunities depending on the year. In the past students have tutored, planned and led enrichment activities, helped restore the library after it was flooded, worked with youth at another community center in Charleston, as well as help with renovation of a new center in another part of Charleston. Students have also had the opportunity to learn more about coal mining culture and economy, mountain top removal, and challenges to a rural educational system. 

 

          Address to the Big Ugly Community Center: 587 Rosewood Rd., Hart, WV 25524 

 

  • Second Year Exchange.  We partner with other Virginia Bonner schools -- University of Richmond, Lynchburg College, and Ferrum College -- for a day of service and related discussions and reflections. Typically the exchange happens during mid-March or early April, and each school takes a turn in hosting the event. (This past year the event was held at W&L on March 19 and the service and discussion activities related to the topic of hunger and homelessness.)  

 

  • Junior or Senior Enrichment. Juniors and seniors have the opportunity of serving as a Bonner intern and/or serving on our Bonner Leadership Team. Since we have only recently expanded into a four-year program, this is an area that we are looking to strengthen.

 

  • Senior CapstoneAnother area we are looking to develop in the coming year.

 

Campus-wide Collaboration:


 

  • National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week: This past November, our Hunger and Homelessness small group team partnered with our University's general service group, Nabors Service League, to organize a Hunger Banquet to raise awareness about hunger in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to the inequality banquet demonstration, the group invited professors to speak on the topic and to answer any questions participants had. The two groups were able to raise $250 to benefit Oxfam America and our local food pantry. 
  • Career Services: Our Bonner Program partnered with our career services for a resume writing workshop this past fall. While the meeting was intended for second-year Bonners, we opened it up to all of our classes, knowing that many students -- including first-years -- would be applying for internships. The meeting was widely successful with nearly 20 students in attendance. The feedback we got from students is that they know the resources are available to them, but it is nice to have it incorporated into an already set meeting. It's often hard to find the time to make a trip to the Career Services office. We've already had conversations with our Career Services office about incorporating them into more of our workshops. 
  • Incorporating faculty into our small group team meetings: This past spring we started bringing in faculty experts to talk with our small group teams on a variety of subjects. Our two most successful meetings were for the youth enrichment group. One month we invited a psychology professor, who has extensive experience working with children, to talk about the best ways to handle tricky situations when working with youth (e.g., what to do when a child swears; how to set boundaries with the youth you are working with). During another month's meeting we organized a panel of educational experts -- two professors (one from our economics department, another from our teacher education program) and a school superintendent -- to answer questions students had about the educational system. Discussions ranged from how school systems are funded to what types of programming are offered for students with learning disabilities. We look forward to hosting more meetings like this in the future. 
  • March Madness Food Drive: As part of our second-year service exchange we challenged both University of Richmond and Lynchburg College to organize a food drive on their own campuses in the weeks leading up to our exchange. (All food would go to benefit food pantries in their own communities.) On W&L's campus the students decided to create a March Madness Food Drive, where they would challenge student groups and academic departments to compete against one another to collect food and/or money to support hunger relief organization in the Rockbridge area. Each team could design their own food drive and would receive points depending on the items they collected (1 pt for each item, 2 pts for an item off our agencies' wish-lists, and 3 pts for every $1 raised) This food drive was a HUGE success. Our 15 student groups collected 1,601 pounds of non-perishable food and raised $917.32! The drive was so successful that the agencies who benefited from it have asked to have similar food drives in the future.     
  • Plans for the coming year: As mentioned above, we look forward to incorporating more faculty into our meetings, as well as having more workshops with Career Services. Additionally, our Bonner Leadership Team (BLT) is looking forward to hosting service days every couple of months, where we would try to bring in a variety of different student groups. We think this will be a great opportunity to bring together groups of students who don't normally interact, as well as introduce students to community organization and service opportunities they may not have known about. The BLT is also excited to have a role in large-scale service days on our campus and to partner with the appropriate group. For example, we are looking to pull together a planning committee for an MLK Day of Service, with representation from all parts of campus. 

  

Serve 2.0:


 

  • This year marks the completion of the third of the Serve 2.0 initiative. Please provide the names and links for your program's use of any of the following platforms.  
    • Facebook:
    • Wiki pages: http://wlubonner.pbworks.com/w/page/5164833/FrontPage (Used infrequently/phasing out; students were not using the resource nor found it helpful)
    • YouTube: (looking to develop in the coming year)
    • Podcasts:
    • Twitter: BonnerWLU
    •  Other: Sakai site (internal blackboard system for the University); MyDoodle and other surveys 

 

While our Twitter account was only recently started, it has proven to be one of our most successful web-based tools -- allowing us to send out reminders about hour logs and upcoming meetings, as well as program news and interesting/relevant articles or websites. Our Sakai site has proven more successful than a Wiki page since students are already using the platform for most of their classes. The feedback we got from students was that they are not interested in another platform or site, particularly one that did not carry over into other aspects of their lives. Still, our Sakai site has not been utilized as much as we expected it would be. Students tend to only use it when they are looking for a document (e.g., suspension form for AmeriCorps). Even then, most students continue to e-mail the Bonner Coordinator for those resources. 

 

Our most effective communication/program management tools continue to be weekly e-mails (with announcements, upcoming deadlines, weekly meeting schedule, etc.), Twitter, and use of MyDoodle and other surveys to collect information from students (e.g., student schedules, new T&E events or service placements to be added to BWBRS, feedback on meetings, food or t-shirt preferences, etc.). We suspect that these platforms have been most successful since they are ones students are already utilizing for other areas of their life and/or they are delivered directly to them. There is no need to search for the websites, since they are generally a link in an e-mail or popped up on their twitter accounts. 

 

For the coming academic year we will look to develop a YouTube channel,a shared Google Calendar of meetings, and a page on our program's University website with links to each of our web-based tools. We are also hoping to encourage more students to write on our Bonner blog (http://wlubonnerleaders.wordpress.com/) .

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