Bonner Community Fellowship

The Bonner Community Fellowship (BCF) is a 4-year developmental program that provides students with opportunities to advance social justice through experiential learning opportunities and critical reflection. Students in the BCF will learn about ways to consider the intersections of power and privilege in community engagement while identifying paths to address the issues that matter most.

“The Bonner program has taught me so much over the last 3 years. Principally, I have learned about community organizing, administrative, financial, and personal networks, and passion. The last of these things being the most important. Not only have I taken valuable lessons about passion and drive from the last three years, but I have learned how the passion that individuals carry in their daily pursuits can infect and mobilize others. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many incredible people, from organization leaders to students to administrators to community members, and from each one, I have taken a valuable lesson about the world, about their lives, about their drives, and about myself. Maybe a little selfish, but I am so grateful for how much the Bonner Community Fellowship has taught me about myself.” – Tafari Williams '20, Bonner Community fellow

meet the Bonner Community Fellowship Cohorts

Your participation in the Bonner Community Fellowship (BCF) will consist of:

  • Civic engagement within the Providence and Rhode Island communities.
  • Co-Curricular Learning workshops.
  • Regular cohort and fellowship meetings.

These three components will come together to help you develop and grow as a student, citizen, and activist in service of our communities.

The BCF will offer:

  • Opportunities to reflect, learn, and grow as you create a positive impact in your community.
  • Learning spaces to help you think critically about power, privilege, and change.
  • Training and workshops for skills you can use at Brown and beyond.
  • Access to mentors, advisers, and a network of local community partners.
  • Leadership opportunities.
  • Opportunity to join a cohort of students who share a commitment to advancing justice.
  • A sense of belonging and support.
  • A need-based stipend to help support your work every semester that you are part of the program.

If you join the BCF, you will commit to:

  • Participate in the program for your four years at Brown, for approximately 5-7 hours per week. 
  • Engage in regular community and civic engagement opportunities
  • Attend all BCF activities, which include:
    • A Bonner pre-orientation
    • Weekly learning community sessions
    • Bonner All-Call meetings
    • One engaged summer 
  • Reflect, learn, and grow as you engage with different communities and peers.

You will be able to find different civic engagement opportunities when you join the BCF, which include:

  • Short and Long-term volunteer opportunities
  • Internships or other community-identified projects 
  • Community-Based Learning and Research courses (CBLR)
  • Leadership roles within the BCF and Swearer Center
  • Leadership and Networking opportunities with the national Bonner Network.
  • Other ways to serve the community that you identify

We seek to develop a diverse team of students united by their desire to engage in community service.

Consider applying to the BCF if you:

  • Are an incoming First Year undergraduate at Brown.
  • Have a passion for community engagement.
    • Past experience is not a requirement!
  • Are willing to commit to the program for your entire undergraduate degree.


May 13, 2024 BCF applications will open
June 13, 2024 BCF applications close
July 2024 Interviews for Finalists
Around July 30, 2024 Program acceptance notifications
August 1, 2024 Deadline to confirm participation in the BCF
August 2, 2024 Waitlist acceptance notifications
August 26-28, 2024 BCF Pre-Orientation in Providence

Accepted students are eligible for a stipend to support their engagement.


Every academic year, we recruit a cohort of students from the incoming class of first-year students. The applications for the BCF Class of 2028 will open in UFunds, Brown's application system, on May 2024. Applicants will need their Brown credentials to log into UFunds to access the Bonner application.

The application will consist of informational questions (like name, pronouns, Banner ID), contact questions (like e-mail and phone), questions about your interests at Brown, and the following short essay questions. 

Bonner Application Short Essay Questions (Bonner Class of 2028)

You will have the opportunity to answer these questions in essay form (300 word maximum) or as an audio recording (3 minutes maximum).

  • Bonner Fellows are passionate about social justice and civic engagement. What are some issues you are passionate about? Why are they important to you? What do you want to do about them?

    • ​Rubric Area: Social Justice

  • Community engagement is an integral part of the BCF. How do you define community? Who are your communities? Share an example of a time when you worked to serve any one of them; it does not have to be a formal experience, just one that was meaningful to you.

    • Rubric Area: Community Engagement

  • Power, privilege, and the intersection of identities inform and affect all aspects of our lives. Please share an example of when you had to consider power, privilege, and identity when you worked with others. How did you respond? How did it affect you? How did it affect other people?

    • Rubric Area: Power, Privilege, and Identity

  • Bonner Fellows are leaders. What does leadership mean to you? How do you imagine yourself being a leader in your community and in the Bonner Community Fellowship? How will you get there?

    • Rubric Area: Leadership

  • An essential component of the BCF is the cohort experience. Describe a time when you felt in community with your peers. What happened? What did you learn? What did your peers learn?

    • Rubric Area: Community Building

  • The BCF is a 4-year commitment. Describe a time when you committed yourself to a long-term opportunity. How did you approach it and stay committed even when it was hard? What did you learn about yourself? 

    • Rubric Area: Commitment and Resilience

  • Why the BCF? What are you hoping to learn? What do you want to do as a Bonner Fellow? How can the BCF help you grow?

    • ​Rubric Area: Growth and Potential


If you have any questions about the Bonner Community Fellowship, please contact [email protected].