**Attention: All prospective applicants must read this before applying!**
Bonner Congress Mission and Purpose
The mission of the Bonner Congress is to engage student representatives from each campus who are knowledgeable about and able to communicate Foundation activities and perspectives to their peers, as well as share student perspectives on a number of issues with the Foundation and the Bonner Program at large.
Since the inception of the Bonner Program, student input has been instrumental in creating, implementing and strengthening the Program on both the local and national levels. It has been the Bonner Congress, representing its peers, that has fulfilled the role of the student voice to the Foundation. This role is vital to the success, integrity and future of the Program.
General Job Description
Bonner Congress Representatives represent the Bonner Foundation, Bonner Congress, and the Oberlin College Bonner Scholars Program. Congress Representatives are expected to share information from the Bonner Foundation and Bonner Congress with Oberlin Bonner Scholars. Also, Congress Representatives will chair one of three committees––Activities, Community Fund, and Reflection. Bonner Congress Representatives must be in their sophomore year (juniors can apply if there are not enough candidates from the sophomore class). Oberlin Bonner Congress Representatives are expected to serve a term of 1 year then serve as Senior Interns for 1 year. First-year Bonner Scholars may apply for this position only if there are not enough candidates from the sophomore and junior class.
Duties and Responsibilities as Described by the Bonner Foundation
- Recruit Bonners and other students for service events
- Respond promptly (within seven days) to correspondence from the Bonner Foundation and other schools
- Develop and maintain a working relationship with your program’s Director/Coordinator and your fellow Bonners
- Encourage Bonners to attend the All-Bonner Service event during the Summer Leadership Institute and to participate in service exchanges.
- Oversee planning and implementation of Ideas to Action
- Hold two to four office hours a week at the Bonner Center for Service and Learning (BCSL)
- Hold 30-60 minute meetings with members of your committee at least once per month
- Represent and serve your peers in the Bonner Program
- Shape and articulate the visions and policies of the program
- Promote communication and sharing of ideas between schools in the Bonner network
- Lead one of the three Bonner committees (community fund, reflection, activities)
- Read the Bonner Program and Congress handbooks and memorize pertinent information (i.e. 6 Common Commitments, 5 E’s-Student Developmental Model, Bonner skill sets, etc.)
- Attend one of the national Bonner Foundation meetings:
- Fall Congress meetings (usually in October or November)
- Summer Leadership Institute (first week of June)
- Assist the Bonner Scholars Program Director and Coordinator with preparing for and running meetings, retreats, special projects, etc.
- Help build community among fellow Bonners
- Assist Senior Interns with larger projects
- Candidates should be in the second year and/or third year at the latest
- Expected that the Oberlin College Bonner Scholars Program be the first priority after academics
- Responsible and professional
- Hard-working and self-motivated
- Have good communication and facilitation skills
- Strong leadership skills
- Able to maintain a balance between academics, Bonner, and other extracurricular activities
- Plan to be on campus at least one semester in the junior year (Studying away in one semester is feasible, but studying away for two semesters is not.)
- Ideally have the desire to be a Senior Intern the senior year
Please note that the time commitment for Congress Representatives is relatively low (2-4 hours per week). Accordingly, Bonner Congress Representatives continue to do service with a site outside of the BCSL. Doing so not only ensures that Congress Representatives fulfill their hours but also allows them to stay engaged with the Oberlin community.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. What is the time commitment for Congress Representatives?
While serving as a Congress Representative, you will be required hold two to four office hours a week at the BCSL. You will also be asked to advise one of our three committees and hold 30-60 minute meetings with the members of your committee before the monthly All-Bonner Meetings. The number of times your committee meets is up to you. If you feel that your committee needs to meet more than once a month, you can plan for those meetings. Finally, at least two of the three Congress Representatives will be expected to attend the annual Congress Meeting hosted at a Bonner school each fall. This meeting takes places over a weekend, usually in October.
Q2. What kinds of projects and tasks does the position entail?
The administration of the Bonner Scholars Program is complex, encompassing a full calendar of trainings, retreats, and meetings, and the program relies heavily on student leaders. Bonner Congress Representatives assist with planning and facilitating activities and setting up/cleaning up Bonner meetings and events. Congress Representatives may also conduct research (for instance about a community partner or topic in civic engagement), create evaluations and surveys, draft and review program policies, update the website, or enter training and enrichment events into BWBRS. The work during office hours is primarily computer-based work. This list is not inclusive, and the Congress Representative position is a continually evolving role in the Bonner Scholars Program.
Q3. Will I be able to continue doing service outside of the Congress Representative position?
Yes, since the time commitment is relatively low, you will need to continue doing service with a site outside of the BCSL. This not only allows your to fulfill your hours, but also allows you to stay engaged with the Oberlin community.
Q4. What kind of a work environment could I expect as a Congress Representative?
Congress Representatives form part of the eight-member Bonner Leadership Team, which is comprised of three Congress Representatives, three senior interns, the Bonner Scholars Program Coordinator and the Bonner Scholars Program Director. Students work on projects both independently and collaboratively. In this context, proactive communication especially important. The program director serves as the site supervisor for all congress representatives, and together with the program coordinator, provides support and guidance for student-led projects, delegates office hours tasks related to program management, and checks in with students as needed. Each congress representative meets with the program director and/or program coordinator at the beginning and end of each semester to discuss preferred supervisory styles and goals.
Q5. What is the election process for Congress Representatives?
Bonner Scholars are invited to nominate members of the rising junior class as Congress Representatives relatively early in the spring semester. Members of the rising junior class are also welcome to nominate themselves. Nominees are then sent an application that they fill out in time for it to be read at the March All-Bonner Meeting. It is at the March All-Bonner Meeting that Bonners vote for their Congress Representatives. The three nominees with the most number of votes are then informed about their selection. They may choose to accept or decline the position. If they decline, the position is then offered to the student next on the list. There is no limit regarding how many people can apply for the Congress Representative position from the junior class.
The application can be found here, and applications are due on Sunday, March 10, 2019. Please prepare your responses before beginning the online application. You cannot save the form and return to it later. You must complete the online application form in one sitting.