Bonner Students Make An Impact For Over 25 Years At Allegheny College

Since 1998, the Allegheny College Bonner Program has cultivated the next generation of leaders. Bonner students are changemakers dedicated to social justice, diversity, and civic engagement.

Over 75+ Bonner Programs exist in the country. However, Allegheny College is distinguished as one of three institutions with a hybrid model comprising half of Bonner Leaders and Scholars, which started in 2005. 

“You might have different interests and skills, but everyone shares a passion for community and for serving toward a more socially just world,” says Colin Hurley, associate dean and director of community engagement. “It is this appreciation of diversity that makes Bonner an incredible experience of community, learning, and support across a student’s four years at Allegheny and beyond.”

Each year, a cohort of sixteen students enthusiastic about serving is selected to participate in community building and engagement. Bonner students dedicate eight to ten hours a week of compensated service through 20+ local Meadville area sites and attend community-building events. Students who complete four years of the Bonner Program accumulate 1,680 hours of experience and many receive significant financial aid. 

“My most enriching experiences in Allegheny were through the Bonner Program,” says Danielle Savellano ’24, a biology major with minors in computer science and global health

As a Bonner, Savellano has been a caretaker at the Tamarack Wildlife Center, a coach for the Crawford County Special Olympics, and a certified counselor-advocator at Women’s Services. Savellano notes that she has started to connect with alumni of the Allegheny College Bonner Program.

“It really speaks to the program’s reach and reputation. Beyond that, many of the students are doing amazing things in their communities,” says Savellano. 

Bonners waste no time making an impact while learning about the surrounding community. Over Spring Break, two upperclassmen leaders and fourteen first-years volunteered at sites in Erie, from reading to children to yard work. Sites included: 

  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (Erie)
  • Urban Erie Community Development Corporation
  • Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Our West Bayfront

“The Bonner Program never ceases to make an impression on alumni,” reflects Amanda Hazer ’10. “It was so beautiful to have something like the Bonner Program to have focus and purpose within. The involvement in Meadville and getting to know people off campus was really enriching. It was nice to feel close to the community.”

Bonner students may also be invited to connect with peers from around the nation who serve in the Bonner Program at other institutions. Recently, students have attended the national Summer Leadership Institute and the Bonner Congress meeting, where they have had the opportunity to speak about their experiences in Meadville and attend workshops they can incorporate into their service while at Allegheny College.  

To learn more about the opportunity to serve, visit https://sites.allegheny.edu/bonner/.