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Awards and Recognition

The Bonner Center has been honored by many organizations in the past. Here is a brief overview of some of the recognition the Bonner Center has received for its achievements.

Governor Christie Recognizes TCNJ and other Colleges for Work in NJ Prisons

At a Governor Chris Christie press conference at Mercer County College on May 8, 2014, The College of New Jersey was recognized for being one of the founding institutions of a major prisoner education initiative.New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons, or NJ-STEP, is a coalition of colleges and universities working to create an undergraduate degree program for incarcerated men and women. Rutgers Newark formed NJ-STEP in 2012 after pulling together a handful of colleges—like TCNJ—that had extensive experience in the field of prisoner education. The others included Mercer County Community College, Rutgers-New Brunswick and Drew University. “Sometimes we find potential in a 16-year-old woman sitting in a jail cell addicted to heroin,” the governor said. “Her life is no less precious, nor valuable, nor a gift from God, than the life of a 16-year-old student whose potential is so obvious that it blinds you. We need to make sure we bring that message to everyone.”

Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness Honors Bonner Institute and Bonner Community Scholars

1613886_10152779482584112_2279728752148804041_nOn April 29, 2014, The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness held its spring fundraiser event to honor the outstanding work of The Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at The College of New Jersey for its dedication to The Wall, a newspaper focused on the issue of homelessness in Mercer County. Patrick Donohue, Paula Figueroa-Vega, and Madeline Bell were honored for their involvement in the project as staff members of the Bonner Institute, and Bonner Community Scholars Shayna Innocenti, Steven Rodrigues, and Rajeshekar Manimaran were honored for their efforts working on the paper and for their contributions to the homeless community in Mercer County. The Mercer Alliance also honored Jim Barnshaw, MD, Past Chairperson of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness for his championship of The Wall.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, Presidential Honor Roll 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

community_service_honor_roll_logoThe College of New Jersey has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics, and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.

“Congratulations to TCNJ and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”

“The College of New Jersey has maintained a service-learning requirement of its students for more than a decade, and our Bonner Community Scholars program rewards students for excellence in community service,” said R. Barbara Gitenstein, president of The College of New Jersey. “TCNJ’s commitment to community engagement is helping students develop into leaders who make a positive impact on our college as well as those beyond our campus who are less fortunate in many ways.”

For the latest Honor Roll awards, please click here.

PEI Kids Honors Bonner Center and Bonner Community Scholars Program

Bonner Center Scholars and staff accept award from PEI Kids last year.

On Sunday, April 22, 2012, PEI Kids raised more than $55,000 and recognized four outstanding community leaders as PEI Kids’ PALS (People Appreciated for Long Service) at its 21stAnnual Dinner and Auction. The Mercer County nonprofit, which is dedicated to keeping children safe, also honored The College of New Jersey’s Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement and theBonner Community Scholars Corps.During the evening, PEI Kids honored TCNJ’s Bonner Center as a valued community partner. Since 2009, student scholars from the Center have donated more than 1,800 hours of mentoring for PEI Kids’ juvenile intervention programs that help youth on probation. “The Bonner scholars and these four PALS — who have collectively committed more than 80 years of dedicated service to PEI Kids — are true examples of community service,” says Martin J. Deitchman, President of PEI Kids’ Board of Trustees. “We feel very fortunate they have made such personal investments in the work we do to keep children safe.”

Patrick Donohue Receives Helen Shaw Staff Excellence and Special Achievement Award of 2011

IMG_38811Pat Donohue, Assistant Provost for Community Engagement and Partnership, and previous director of the Bonner Center at the College of New Jersey was awarded The Helen Shaw Staff Excellence and Special Achievement Award 2011 for Outstanding Achievements and Contributions to The College of New Jersey.

The Helen Shaw Staff Excellence and Special Achievement Award was established by the Helen Shaw Endowment in January 2003 as a memorial in honor of Helen D. Shaw, Class of 1936. The award recognizes the essential role TCNJ staff members play as full partners in the College’s educational process and institutional activities, and acknowledges their commitment to varied models of excellence that display the dedication and breadth of staff contributions to the College.

For more information and photos from the award ceremony, please click here.

Associate Director of the Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement at the College of New Jersey honored with “Platinum Award”

Now Bonner Center DirectorPaula Figueroa-Vega, was honored with a “Platinum Explosion/Wall of Heroes Award” by the Trenton Board of Education on June 9, 2011. The award recognized the positive impact that Figueroa-Vega, a Trenton native, has made on young people in her community.

Figueroa-Vega has served as associate director of the Bonner Center since 2008. She is responsible for the Community Engaged Learning (CEL) graduation requirement for first-year students at the College, and also manages two teams of Bonner Community Scholars focused on the environment and homelessness.

She received her award along with over 100 Trenton students from all grades who were honored for their outstanding efforts throughout the year and about 70 community members of the local community.

For the rest of the article, please click here.

The Washington Center, Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards 2010

The College of New Jersey The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), a public liberal-arts college in Ewing, created The Bonner Community Scholars Corps (BCSC) to advance the institution’s overall civic engagement efforts while investing in individual students and promoting their development. A diverse group of 70 undergraduates identified as Bonners in high school and assisted with scholarship funding commits to serving the campus and larger community for four years. They form issue-based teams at the start of each academic year, work with community partners to identify and address unmet needs and ultimately mobilize other TCNJ students to assist. For example, BCSC students organize and motivate all freshmen as they fulfill their First-Year Community Engaged Learning (CEL) requirement through co-curricular days of service and class-based projects co-led by faculty members. CEL programs have involved hosting a youth conference, developing a database and web system for a local nonprofit, coordinating support for Haiti’s post-earthquake recovery, planting a community garden on campus to provide vegetables to a local soup kitchen, and delivering writing/reflection workshops to juvenile offenders. BCSC students elevate their participation in civic engagement to the regional, national and international level by taking enrichment trips and compiling issue-briefs to inform local partner agencies about larger political developments.

Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards 2008

Environmental Education/Student-Led Activity Category: The Bonner Community Scholars Corps (Bonner Scholars) is comprised of 65 student leaders on the campus of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).  Started in 2004 under the leadership of TCNJ President Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein, the College references this program as their “domestic peace corps.”  Each Bonner Scholar spends a minimum of 300 hours per academic year working collaboratively with community partners in thirteen issue-based areas, including the environment, to improve the quality of life in Trenton and the surrounding vicinity.  In the 2007-2008 academic year, environmentally-focused Bonner Scholars mobilized 260 The College of New Jersey first-year students to complete their Community Engaged Learning graduation requirement on an environmental project to remove litter along the Trenton portion of Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.  Through the Bonner Scholars’ efforts, over 4,000 hours of community service was dedicated to the Trenton stretch of the park.