Bonner Community Fellowship FAQ
Bonner Community Fellows engage with the Providence community during all four years of their undergraduate experience at Brown. Bonner Fellows engage with their community partner for 6-8 hours each week of the semester and participate in weekly workshops on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Each year, Bonner Fellows return to campus one week prior to the start of the semester to engage in training and community building with each other during our Pre-Season program. Bonners have the opportunity to travel to the Mississippi Delta, and explore Tougaloo College and Jackson, Mississippi during their sophomore year for one week and to participate in a companion course offered in conjunction with the trip. Each Bonner Fellow completes two engaged summers to continue building experience in communities locally, nationally, and globally. All members of the cohort receive direct support and mentorship from a Swearer Center staff member and meet one on one regularly. A full list of expectations can be found here.
Bonner Community fellows are placed at non-profit organizations, that are partners with the Swearer Center, for four years of engagement. Bonner fellows engage in a matching process that includes student interviews with potential partners and a bi-directional ranking system. Ideally, through the interview and placement process, both parties are invested in ensuring that the match is a good fit. We seek to place students, based on their passions and interests, into engagement that is aligned with expressed needs of the community organization. The Swearer Center values and prioritizes the knowledge and assets of our community partner organizations, and we seek to create meaningful placements in alignment with our values of reciprocity, community voice, and agency.
Our re-matching process carefully considers the impact that changing the placement might have for the community organization. Before a rematch is considered, the student, partner, and Swearer Center staff explore multiple avenues to find solutions at the current placement. Swearer Center staff work with the student on a one-on-one basis to explore options and possibilities. If it is determined that a re-match is necessary, the student will submit an application for re-match on BrownEngage, in which they reflect on the implications of a rematch for all parties involved.
Students who meet financial aid eligibility criteria may qualify for a four year stipend of $2,000 per year. A key priority for the Swearer Center, articulated in our strategic plan, is to offset the costs of community engagement so that every interested Brown student, regardless of financial need, is able to participate. This is a priority for our Bonner Fellows Program, as well as all of our engagement opportunities.