Approximately 150 Bonner Scholars from across the country gathered for the National Bonner Congress from Friday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 21, on the campus of Waynesburg University. The weekend marked an important milestone in Bonner Scholar history, as it reached its 20th anniversary.
Sarah Brandstetter, coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program at Waynesburg University, said that Waynesburg’s Bonner Scholars felt honored to host this event.
“It’s amazing to be able to share with colleges and universities from across the nation about the service here in Greene County,” Brandstetter said. “This opportunity allows us to share what we have learned over the past 20 years and to begin planning for the next 20 years with schools from across the nation. The Bonner Foundation has given us so much and this is our opportunity to give back.”
The Bonner Scholar Program, founded in Princeton, N.J., has expanded to colleges and universities across the country, providing "access to education, and an opportunity to serve" to more than 3,200 students annually. Waynesburg University is one of only 23 Bonner Scholar schools in the country and welcomes approximately 15 new Bonner Scholars each academic year. Each Bonner Scholar performs 8 to 10 hours of community service each week at a service site of choice.
“As we look over our 20-year history, we can see the dramatic influence the Bonner Foundation’s commitment to service learning has had on our campus, our community and in higher education,” Waynesburg University President Timothy Thyreen said. “We have built long-standing relationships with local organizations to better meet the needs of our local community, providing such services as afterschool programs, food security and tax assistance.”
Each year, Bonner Scholars from across the country meet for Bonner Congress to discuss accomplishments, changes and ideas for the Program. According to Brandstetter, the student leaders come to network and plan for the future of service across the nation.
Speakers for the weekend included Bryan McCabe, a pastor at North Way Christian Community in Pittsburgh, and Kyle Kooyers, Waynesburg University alumnus and AmeriCorps VISTA member for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Pictured: Robert Hackett, President of the Bonner Foundation
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