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Washburn University Big Idea Proposal, 2011-2012

Page history last edited by Jessie Broxterman 8 years, 9 months ago Saved with comment




Congress Reps for 2011-2012

  • Jessie Broxterman
  • Cristina Rubio
  • Amber Rufener 


What's Your Big Idea Category? (please bold which one)

- Student Leadership & Development

- Community Partnerships & Impact

- Campus Culture & Coordination

- Policy & Change Campaigns 




In 400 words or less, please describe your Big Idea. What is it and why have you decided to work on it this year? How may it strengthen your program, campus, and/or community?


In recognition of Bonner Leaders’ expanded focus on the environment; we intend to have our chapter also broaden its service, both through volunteer sites and various events throughout the city, to regularly include the current distress of the Topeka, as well as the United States, environment.

The reason we felt this was the “Big Idea” to pursuit is because, currently, we don’t have any regular volunteer service sites that seem to directly impact the environment or the problems that affect it. We have found events throughout the city to participate in, but we would like to have a more regular impact.

This past year Learning in the Community (LinC): The Center for Community Service and Civic Engagement completed the ASCE survey of the campus. The survey results were used to drive the strategic planning of the center. One component of the strategic plan identified the issues the center will focus on for the next five years. These areas are Youth Services, Poverty Elimination (hunger and homelessness), Health Care and Environmental Issues. The “Big idea” presented here is consistent with the strategic plan to strengthen the Center’s Environmental opportunities.

Our hope is that it will not only strengthen our program by tackling problems related to an issue that we haven’t previously focused on, giving us a broader impact on the community as a whole. But, we hope it will also, in a way, invigorate our group. They will be able to do things that were never done before at our chapter. They will have volunteer opportunities different from anything we’ve offered before, at sites that they help mold and create around a whole new set of issues.




In 400 words or less, please describe your strategy. The following questions should draw out the tools, resources, and support you are using to promote and achieve your Big Idea. You'll have a chance to flesh out your plan, but here is a chance to get the basics down: 


  • Which Bonner staff on your campus has committed to helping you achieve this Big Idea?
  • Who's on your team? Please share how you may be involving:
    • fellow Bonners
    • other students on campus
    • community partners
    • faculty members
    • administration
  • What resources will you leverage to help you achieve your Big Idea? 
  • What three things will you accomplish by the end of this academic year (think SLI 2012)? 


Currently our director, Dr. Rick Ellis, has already begun setting up relationships with one specific site, The Topeka Common Ground, for our volunteers to begin to do regular service at. We have also had one of our Bonners, Mr. Joshua Wurtz, doing service at another volunteer site, the Topeka Community Cycle Project. Our hope is to bring a organized, structured, regular volunteer service to both of these sites, and have them serve as the foundation of our expansion into helping the environment within the community.

Our main goal, by the end of this academic year, is to have established who will be the true “leaders” at each of these sites. It is our chapter’s goal to have a specific leader (or group of leaders) tied to each site; who oversees the volunteers, knows what the sites want and need, and knows how to plan and implement volunteer efforts to make those things happen. These sites will be no different and we will have those distinguished leaders in place by the end of the year, though more likely sooner.

Our 2nd goal will be relative to growth within our program. Two sites is just the beginning and our goal is to find the ones within the city that we’ve missed and bringing that same approach to them. We recognize that it is very possible that there are no other sites to be found and if that’s the case, we’ll focus on the implementation of either branching out these foundation sites, if their success justifies it, or establishing new sites that focus on environmental needs that we’ve noticed through our work at the foundation sites, but are not being addressed.

Our 3rd goal is events within the sites. By the end of the academic year, we need to be able to go beyond regular service and coordinate events for the sites, such as fundraisers, events for raising awareness, etc. The purpose of this goal is so volunteers don’t burnout or dissipate once we feel we’ve become established. There’s always something more that can be done.


Please draft some of your benchmark goals into the framework below:


  • Bonner Congress October 7-9, 2011:
  • MLK Day January 16, 2012:
  • IMPACT Conference late March 2012:
  • SLI June 4-7, 2012: 


By: Bonner Congress (Oct 7th – 9th)

  • Have established and set up a working relationship with both foundation sites so that volunteers can begin interviewing and training.

By: MLK Day (Jan. 16th)

  • Have recognized and approached individuals who are viable candidates to be the “leaders” at the sites and discuss a structured plan, the individuals who play the biggest part in those plans, and the steps needed to continue improving the site.

  • Have established a 3rd viable site for regular service OR have had a discussion among the volunteers at both foundation sites about what kind of problems are not being addressed currently and what kind of movement is necessary to begin addressing those issues.

By: Impact Conference (March 2012)

  • Have contributed in or implemented at least one “community event” in relation to each foundation site.

  • (Optional) If a 3rd site was not found, have established some 3rd form of regular volunteer work that impacts the environment.

By: SLI (June 4th -7th)

  • Have evaluated our progress, looking at the things that we’ve done well, things that need improved, and anything else deemed necessary so that we are completely prepared to welcome the next class of Bonners to each site.



A good Big Idea proposal is one that connects with broader goals you may have for your program, campus, or community. Please answer the questions below, which should help you think through those larger themes.


  • What will be different in 2014 as a result of your Big Idea (thinking in a 3-year strategic plan)?


In 2014, environment-minded establishments like the Topeka Common Ground and Topeka Community Cycle Project will have evolved beyond being “hidden gems” within our community. They will be staples of the community, due at least in part to our volunteer efforts and efforts to increase awareness of health and environmental benefits of things like bicycles and garden grown foods. By 2014, the need for Bonner within these sites will have dissipated, as the it will be fully self sustaining self volunteers throughout the community and though we will likely still have a few individuals who choose to stay and help out, our main focus will have turned to the establishment of other sites that can address the issues the already implemented sites simply cannot.


  • How might your plan affect some of the issues and ideas seen in the Think 2040 video?

Obviously, the video touches on the environment most directly when it references the fact that we, at one time, thought oil was never going to run out. Our plan is to directly promote and support some of the very practices that reduce our usage of oil, most obviously via transportation of ourselves and our goods. Every step within our plan takes us away from relying on a finite resource, such as oil, and brings us back to relying on the one resource we can always count on: ourselves.



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