Saturday Night Live, Existentialism, Political theory, McSweeney's, Beyonce, & The New Yorker
October 15, 2016
Conversations about the pros and cons of romantic comedies at 3am. Discovering incredible croissants in Church Hill. Gaining street cred for exploring downtown Richmond. Visiting art galleries, health centers, refugee placement programs, and mentoring projects. Squeezing one more lecture about social justice, civic engagement, or zombie humanism into your schedule.
What do all of these things have in common? The Bonner Scholars Program!
In 1993, the Richmond Bonner Scholars Program was established. Each year, 25 students per class year are selected as Bonner Scholars. What’s the program all about? Students who are selected become part of both the Bonner community and the local community. After a semester of exploring different service partners, Bonners are paired up with a local organization to pursue service learning. Students manage ten hours of community engagement into their schedule, and in return experience an amazing opportunity to build connections through a 3 year internship, as well as receive compensation through a stipend. There are a lot of other reasons to apply to the program, I’d definitely suggest checking out the FAQ page.
A photo from our service tour of ART 180, an arts program in downtown Richmond. This powerful collection highlights the issues surrounding youth incarceration in the state of Virginia.
So what’s the story behind the Bonner Program? Let’s take a quick little jaunt back in time to 1990, aka the year that J. K. Rowling was sitting on a train and was inspired with the thought of Harry Potter. Despite University of Richmond’s passing resemblance to Hogwarts, this post is not related at all to Harry Potter. Back to the 1990s. Corella and Bertram Bonner (“Mr. and Mrs. Bonner”) decided to start the Bonner Foundation, hoping to create an impact the areas of hunger and education. Mr. and Mrs. Bonner have crazy inspirational life stories: both were self-starters, born into poverty, and they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. To borrow words from Drake, they started at the bottom and eventually became hugely successful in business.
But Mr. and Mrs. Bonner didn’t just have business on their mind: they looked for ways to give back to their community. They provided food for destitute families, and began an ecumenical crisis ministry. And then in 1990, the Bonner Foundation was born, a way to sustain the work of the Bonners through student service — creating a program that allowed students to provide access to education and service in their communities.
It's the Bonner squad at the Valentine Museum! Ah, we were so freshfaced during our first two weeks of school. Sigh. First years and walk-ons represent!
Being part of the Bonner Fam has been incredible. Exploring Richmond through the lens of social justice issues has been eye opening for me. We’ve visited museums and discussed what it means to be part of the Richmond community, both off and on campus. Yesterday, I toured an art gallery that explored youth incarceration and the school to jail pipeline in Virginia. A few weeks ago, we attended a Melissa Harris-Perry lecture about what youth engagement means in civic communities.
The Bonner Program has opened up so many new landscapes for me and other scholars, I hope you’ll consider applying! Start working on the application as you submit your application to University of Richmond (the deadline is in April). And, quick PSA for transfers: if you’re transferring in as a sophomore, you can submit an application as a transfer/walk-on scholar (like yours truly).
Peace out folks!
--Cory, '19, seeking serenity while eating croissants
Hey Spiders! My name is Cory, and I’m a sophomore and transfer student. I’m a double major in Rhetoric and Communication and Women, Gender, and Sexuaity Studies. My goal in life is to one day work at Olivia Pope & Associates, or at least work in crisis management or public relations. I grew up between Florida, Colorado, and Virginia, and similar to Cady Heron in Mean Girls, I was homeschooled. I love traveling, shopping at Target, spending time with my cat (named Soren Kittegaard), attempting to keep up with the Kardashians, reading Albert Camus, and hanging out with friends. Keep an eye out for some posts specifically about the transfer life! Sneak peek: so far it’s been fantastic.
Why UR?I didn’t really get connected to University of Richmond until I was a freshman in college. I met some amazing alumni and visited the campus and honestly fell in love with everything about Richmond. Michael Scott once said in The Office, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take - Wayne Gretzky,” and I knew that I had to take a shot and apply as a transfer student. I’m thrilled to be a Spider, to be at a university that feels like home, and to conquer my arachnophobia for once and for all.