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Bonner Summer Leadership Institute at Montclair State University: Empowering Leaders for Future Success

Posted in: Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships

2023 Bonner Summer Leadership Institute Hosted at Montclair State University 

This year, Montclair State University partnered with The Bonner Foundation to host the 2023 Bonner Summer Leadership Institute, this was the first time Montclair State University hosted. As a proud Bonner Leader school for fourteen years, Montclair State University was excited to share with the Bonner Network. The Bonner Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) brings together approximately 300 Bonner staff, students, faculty, alumni, and representatives from national partner organizations. The 2023 Summer Leadership Institute theme is Together Towards Tomorrow: Juntos Lo Logramos. This theme embodies the spirit of Montclair State University as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Toward a brighter future, unity and community are key to advancing social change and equity.

Our very own Bonner Leader, Mariana Luna-Martinez, was among the keynote speakers of the opening All Group Session “Together Towards Tomorrow: Juntos Lo Logramos”, along with Jonathan Koppell, President at MSU, J.P. Liddy, Bonner Scholar at Oberlin College, Nellie Pou, NJ State Legislator for 35th District, and  Krystal Woolston, Director of the Bonner Program at MSU and Assistant Director for the Center for Community Engagement at MSU. This All Group Session was emceed by Liz Brandt, Director of Community Engagement at the Bonner Foundation.

The social planning committee organized the “Welcome Wednesday” event at the Student Recreation Center for the first night of SLI. Bonners made smores, played games, and danced all night long. There was popcorn and cotton candy as sweet treats. The social planning committee also put together a “Throwback Thursday Carnival” event at the Student Recreation Center. Bonners played carnival games like Bean Bag Toss, Balloon Pop, Bubble Splash, and Knock ‘Em Down. Bonners also had the opportunity to swim and play other games such as Just Dance, and basketball. 

The last social event of the week was the “Bonner Prom”! Everyone dressed up in 70s-themed clothing, danced all night long, and enjoyed a 360 photo booth with different kinds of props. Bonners ended the last SLI social event of the week with a BANG!

In addition to extensive and inspiring all-group sessions, SLI was filled with skill-based elective workshops, social/community-building activities, and a networking fair with national nonprofit organizations and graduate schools offering scholarships to Bonner students and alumni. Among the national nonprofit organizations and graduate schools were, Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program (BGIA), Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Coalition (CLDE Coalition), GivePulse, The Volcker Alliance, Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Robert Wagner School of Public Service at NYU, among many others. 

The Bonner Foundation has not only given access to but has continued to encourage Montclair State students to pursue an active role as service leaders in their communities, for fourteen years. Our Bonner Leaders at MSU were thrilled to have had the opportunity to plan and successfully execute this year’s Bonner Summer Leadership Institute, proudly representing their Bonner Leader Program, Montclair State University, and their own communities. Along with staff and interns of the Bonner Foundation, MSU Bonner Leaders worked hand in hand with staff and graduate students at the Center for Community Engagement. Juntos lo hicimos y juntos lo logramos, unidos todo se puede alcanzar. 

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Story by our Bonner Student Lorraine Mota.