The flagship Bonner Leaders Program at UNC is part of a nationwide network of more than 80 colleges and universities that provide service-based scholarships and leverage federal community service work-study funds to support intensive undergraduate community service and social justice activities throughout students’ college careers. Each year, a diverse group of incoming first-year students are chosen through a competitive application process emphasizing service and leadership.
The sustained service program, housed in and staffed by the Campus Y, follows a four-year model designed to engage students in addressing community-identified needs. They initially work as direct-service volunteers, grow into project and site coordinators, and ultimately engage in public policy and community-based research.
The service requirement is significant – more than 250 hours per year – and is complemented by weekly meetings, leadership workshops, and capacity building seminars. It is a campus-wide, interdisciplinary initiative involving both Student Affairs and Academic Affairs.