What’s New with Bonner

by Leah Wilson

A fall 2023 update on the Bonner Scholars Program

The Bonner Scholars, a program that has been at Emory & Henry College for over 30 years, is a service learning scholarship that intends to make college a reality for students. Every year the program brings in 12-20 students in order to learn and grow in their civic engagement abilities and become better community members no matter their eventual life path.

This year was the first year since before COVID-19 that first year Bonners were able to move in prior to Week of Welcome Orientation events to have their own orientation to both the Bonner program and each other. First year Madison Rossi-Dupas said of orientation, “Bonner orientation was super relaxed and very helpful with getting to know my cohort and understanding what Bonner is all about.”

During orientation, first year students were introduced to the two projects they would be able to choose from for their first semester of engagement. This year those projects were working with People Inc. or the Watershed Project. Rossi-Dupas chose the Watershed Project this semester and her role is to index.

This year Bonner Scholars have the choice between 13 civic engagement projects. At the beginning of this semester, Bradley Hartsell, the coordinator of the program, highlighted a new project, a partnership with People Inc.

People Inc. is an organization based in Abingdon that “exists so that people with disabling conditions or other special needs have the support they need to participate and succeed in an accepting society.”

Hartsell describes the program as “invested in the students and interest of the Bonner program at Emory.”

He explained that, “Multiple students are able to participate, which allows for cohorts to develop within the project. Students are able to impact real people, real families in the community and have the chance to learn about the many obstacles and hurdles that all people can face, things that may have been taken for granted (childcare, housing, etc).”

Students are able to spend as much time with a project as they would like, some students choose to stick with the same project all eight semesters and others choose to switch it up every semester and get involved with different projects.

This semester the Bonner Program is excited for Bonner Congress which sends two students to represent E&H and learn more about the Bonner Foundation as well as what resources/assets are available to students and the greater program. Bonner Congress will take place October 27-29 in Black Mountain, NC.


Written by: Kyra Stinson-Wesley

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