Community Engagement Requirements

Bonner Scholars are required to commit up to 10 hours each week to community engagement throughout the academic year and 280 hours during two summers. It is this intensity of commitment — the multiyear nature and the large number of students involved (approximately 100, or roughly 25 in each class) — that makes the Bonner Scholars Program both distinctive and transformative.

Bonner Scholars engage for 250 hours total each academic year, through a combination of local service and training and education (T&E) hours. Participation should be evenly distributed over the course of the year, so that service and T&E hours are consistent and ongoing, equating to the 8-10 hours a week.

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  • Hours
    The foundation of the Bonner Scholars Program is community engagement, and students spend eighty percent of the required 250 hours per school year at a nonprofit or government organization. This equates to 200 hours or 8 of the required 10 hours a week. Students spend their remaining hours participating in training and education opportunities focused on learning about active citizenship and democratic engagement. 

    New Bonners participate in a year-long placement during their first two semesters in the program before applying to their primary internship. They also participate in a year-long training program called Bonner 101. (This is a non-accredited, weekly training and education opportunity included in their standard 10 hours per week.) 

    During class registration periods, students need to be mindful of when their partner organizations need volunteers/interns, leaving appropriate time blocks for community engagement. To assist in this process, all Bonners participate in priority registration.
  • Training & Education

    Bonners make thoughtful and planned decisions to engage in training and education (T&E) activities that expand their understanding of social issues and populations with which they work or they are curious to learn more about. It’s an opportunity to delve deeper or expose yourself to something new. You may record a maximum of 2 T&E hours per week (or a maximum of 20% of your total hours per cycle).

    A majority of T&E hours are sponsored by the program (e.g., BSP meetings, class meetings, Bonner 101, write-ups, one-on-ones with class advisors, etc.). Additional T&E hours are to be approved by staff and must align with the common commitments and/or your academic and professional goals.

  • Cycles

    Each semester is divided into three cycles that are about 4-5 weeks long. Cycles 1-3 occur in the fall semester and cycles 4-6 occur in the spring semester. At the end of each cycle students are required to record and have their service hours verified, in addition to fulfilling a few other requirements (community learning agreements, write-ups, surveys, etc.), in order to receive their stipend.

  • Summer Internships

    For two summers, Bonner Scholars must complete a 280-hour internship (over at least seven weeks) at the nonprofit, government agency, or NGO of their choice. Summer internships provide an opportunity for Scholars to more deeply engage the issues and populations they work with during the academic year, or to explore new issues and populations around the world.


    Bonners must serve a minimum of 30 hours per week during the summer. It is expected that all 280 hours are served with the same agency or group so that students can gain a deeper understanding of full-time work at the organization. If circumstances prevent that level of engagement, Bonners should consult with their class advisor to explore alternative arrangements.


    Bonners have access to up to $9,000 to support two summer internships. (This is in addition to the Richmond Guarantee.) The two main sources of funding are the living stipend ($3,150, paid prior to the summer internship) and the earnings stipend ($1,350, paid upon completion of the summer internship). Upon completion of two summer internships that meet the program’s criteria (i.e. working with a nonprofit or social impact organization), seniors are given access to an additional $500 to support their professional growth and development during their final year at the University.