The Bonner Community Scholar Program
Funding from the Dodge Foundation provided resources to establish a Bonner “Sustainability Team” as a pilot project that has resulted in more robust connections between the Sustainability Institute, TCNJ Bonner Scholars, and Sustainable Jersey municipalities with the possibility for future expansion. TCNJ’s Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research (CELR) has built the leadership capacity of Bonner Fellows and TCNJ freshmen students engaged in Community Engaged Learning by linking them to Sustainable Jersey sites/communities, giving them first-hand knowledge of sustainable development issues. This partnership brings student energy and resources to implement projects/programs related to the Sustainable Jersey actions.
During the pilot project, Bonner Scholars have received a background orientation around the concept of sustainability and an overview of the Sustainable Jersey program which has prepared them to engage in sustainability projects that municipalities have identified. Municipalities and projects were selected through an application process which was overseen by SJ (formerly known as the Municipal Land Use Center) staff. These Bonner Scholars then led teams of freshmen on CEL days in host municipalities, and also engaged with host municipalities on a more extensive basis as part of their own community engagement.
The Bonner Center oversaw the Sustainability Team, coordinating with Sustainable Jersey municipal sites selected for assistance, coordinating work plan development and deploying Bonners and freshman CEL students in communities.
In the spring of 2012, our Executive Director collaborated with Bonner staff to recruit and engage faculty to teach courses that brought additional resources to Sustainable Jersey municipal sites.