Bonner Leader Program

We are happy to announce that 2023-2024 Bonner Program
applications are now open! Click here to apply.

Applications are due Thursday, September 14, 2023 by 11:59 pm.

Gullah Service Saturday  Sustainability Fair Waterkeeper Service Saturday

Our Bonner Leaders combine education, service and reflection to become changemakers. How? Through hands-on experiences like our Service Saturday exploring Gullah heritage, outreach at the Sustainability Fair, and exploring the connection between commerce and conservation with Charleston Waterkeeper. Read on for personal perspectives from Bonner Leader Arianna Parker.

As soon as Arianna Parker was accepted to College of Charleston, she started to look for ways to give back. Her search led her straight to the Center for Civic Engagement and the Bonner Leader Program.

The four-year program provides a scholarship to students in exchange for a weekly commitment to meaningful service with a local community organization. Bonners also engage in leadership development and delve into social justice topics to better understand the world around them - and their role in it.

“It's been eye-opening, challenging and rewarding,” she said. “The people and mentors and projects push me, and help me develop the tools and confidence to speak about social justice issues that are important to me. And they continually teach me that our experiences are shaped by our efforts. It's definitely been one of my best experiences here."

As a Bonner, Arianna, who’s majoring in Arts Management and minoring in Marketing and Spanish, has helped support after-school STEMist programming for children of color in Charleston, and now serves as a Bonner intern who helps CofC Bonners connect in and outside of the program.

As she prepares to graduate in December 2023, Arianna is looking forward to at least one more meaningful experience – a conservation-focused service immersion trip to Zakynthos, Greece, with a team of other Bonner juniors and seniors.

“The Bonner program has put me in a lot of spaces that I couldn’t have imagined before. It’s an amazing four years.”

More About the Bonner Leader Bonner
The College of Charleston is just one of 65 colleges and universities in the United States to offer this four-year civic leadership and development program. As a Bonner Leader at the College, you will:

  • Partner with a Charleston-area non-profit and provide approximately 300 hours of service per academic year.
  • Participate in weekly Bonner Leader meetings to learn more about and delve into relevant social justice issues. Discussions focus on how you can personally make an impact in your communities. 
  • Provide valuable leadership in the Charleston community and promote a culture of service and civic engagement on campus. 
  • Earn scholarship support, helping you balance financial commitments with your desire to engage in meaningful work experiences. 
  • Become a part of the Bonner family, a “home away from home” at the College and a member of a national network whose members share a commitment to positive social change.

Our Bonner Leaders also have extensive opportunities to:

  • Develop leadership, communication, strategic and organizational skills
  • Organize campus and community-wide service projects and events
  • Participate in national service conferences, and domestic and international service initiatives
  • Work with diverse groups of people on campus and in the community
  • Create true understanding of other perspectives and cultures
  • Perhaps most importantly - serve as an agent for change in their communities

Becoming a Bonner
Every academic year, incoming freshmen who have been accepted to the College of Charleston are welcome to apply to the Bonner Leader Program.

Applications for incoming members of the Class of 2027 are now open. Click here to apply. Applications are due by Thursday, September 14, 2023, by 11:59 pm. Please email us for updates.

The Bonner Leader application process includes an online application, letters of recommendation and an interview with current College of Charleston Bonners via Zoom. 

More Information 
Check out our student-led Bonner Leader blog for additional perspectives. 
You can also email us at and like us on Facebook.

Visit, call or email us today to learn more about Bonner Leaders and how the CCE helps students do well by doing good.

Center for Civic Engagement
Lightsey Center
160 Calhoun Street, Suite 203
Charleston, SC   29401

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