Bonner Community Leaders

The Bonner Community Leaders Program at Simmons University is a unique opportunity for students who want to combine a strong commitment to service with personal growth, teamwork, leadership development, and scholarship.

Bonner Community Leaders with President Wooten

This program is designed to challenge and support students throughout their four years through an experiential learning model. Starting their first year at Simmons, Bonner Leaders are oriented and immersed in exploring personal and interpersonal identity, the local and at-large community, and the program's structure and expectations. Through a combination of training, reflection, and community engagement activities, students will evaluate the relationship between identity and place, and learn how to identify social problems and address questions within society. Each year the program builds upon itself, allowing students to lead, take more responsibility, and think more critically about their community experiences.

Bonner Model
Graphic represents the Bonner Model

Being a Bonner Community Leader involves a commitment not only to service, but also to learning how to be an effective change agent for one's campus, community, and beyond. Ideal Bonner candidates are passionate about civic engagement and eliminating systematic inequalities, demonstrate community involvement, embrace working in a team setting, have leadership potential, and possess a strong commitment to the Bonner mission to "transform students, communities, and campuses through service."

We invite all first year students to apply and select 10-15 new participants each year. To be eligible for the program, participants must have federal work-study as part of their financial aid package and a demonstrated commitment to community involvement.


  • Become a part of a dedicated team of leaders in community service and social justice by being matched with a community-based organization for a multi-year partnership based upon community needs
  • Complete 280 hours of combined service, training, meetings, and class sessions per year for the 4 year engagement
  • Attend regularly scheduled, required Bonner meetings
  • Participate in pre-service orientation
  • Participate in a first-year service trip and a second-year service exchange
  • Complete one summer internship spending at least 280 hours with a local, state, national or international non-profit or government agency
  • Make a final presentation of learning
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 GPA
  • Embrace the Bonner Common Commitments

Bonner Information Session

Bonner Common Commitments

  • Social Justice: Advocating for fairness, impartiality, and equality while addressing systemic social and environmental issues
  • Civic Engagement: Participating intentionally as a citizen in the democratic process, actively engaging in public policy and direct services
  • Spiritual Exploration: Exploring personal beliefs, values, and spirituality while respecting the practice of others
  • Community-Building: Establishing and sustaining a vibrant community of place, personal relationships, and common interests
  • International Understanding: Developing international understanding that enables individuals to participate successfully and sensitively in a global society
  • Diversity: Respecting and engaging with the many different dimensions of diversity in our public lives

Financial Support and Additional Benefits

  • Federal Work Study Funding, up to $2,500 for the year, as determined by the student's financial aid package
  • A stipend of up to $2,000 each year based on hours served
  • Local transportation passes and covering other possible costs associated with service
  • Invaluable internship and work experience
  • Networking opportunities and connections with critical organizations in the Boston community and Bonner network

Application Questions 

  1. Why are you interested in applying to be a Bonner Leader? (250 word limit)
  2. What do you see as your responsibility to the community around us? (250 word limit)
  3. Please share a specific story about a community-engaged learning experience. What did you learn about yourself, other people, and/or the wider world? What knowledge, skills, or values did you gain or deepen? What role did power and privilege play?
  4. The Bonner Community Leaders Program at Simmons University values diversity of identity, thought, and experience. What was/is an experience you have had with people who were different from you? Explain what you learned from this experience.
  5. There are six common commitments in the Bonner Community Leaders Program: Diversity, International Perspective, Social Justice, Community Building, Civic Engagement, and Spiritual Exploration. Identify one of the commitments that most resonates with you and explain why. How do you envision using that commitment in your service work?

Application Timeline

September 30, 2022Application Opens
October 1, 2022FAFSA Applications Open (please apply to FAFSA at the time of submitting your application)
November 16, 2022Virtual Information Session
March 31, 2023Application Deadline
RollingInterviews via Zoom
May 30, 2023Final Notification of Decisions
Aug 30, 2023Bonner Move In
August 31 - September 1, 2023Bonner Orientation

Apply Now