Bonner Scholars return from annual spring retreat

Waynesburg University is home to one of the few schools in the nation that have a Bonner program. This past Friday, Jan. 26, the bonner scholars had their yearly spring retreat. 

“The spring one depends on what the weather is going to be like,” Assistant Dean of Student Development Adrienne Tharp said. “If I knew we could be wearing shorts and flip-flops I would probably have us outside.”

The Bonner Leadership Team (BLT) planned this spring retreat and was run by the members of the BLT. McKenna Bothell and Shekinah Chandler took the lead for this particular Bonner event. 

“We knew we wanted to pick topics that related to every individual,” Bothell said. “We went with topics of the Bonner Common Commitments.”

During the Bonner Scholars four-hour retreat, they discussed topics such as community building, spirituality, diversity, social justice and international understanding.

“Those are the common themes that our campus utilizes and integrates into our program,” Tharp said. “And every Bonner program across the country.”

The discussions had by the bonner scholars allowed them to dive deeper into how they feel they are individually meeting these commitments. Though it was a longer retreat, Bothell felt it was still very effective.

“I believe it gave Bonners a new outlook on what it truly means to be a Bonner,” Bothell said. “Sometimes we all get caught up in fulfilling requirements and lose focus.”

Typically retreats are led by Tharp, but she prefers to be able to have her student leaders plan and connect with their peers.

“I like it when students take the lead,” Tharp said. “I think it is nice when they can have some peer-to-peer interaction rather than listening to someone talk or watch a documentary.”

Bothell believes this event was a great starting point for growing a bond between all of the Bonner Scholars, but also said there could still be improvements made.

“We can improve our communication to plan more thoroughly and create ideas and discussions to bring the Bonner Scholars together,” Bothell said. “I think the event did just that, but I do believe we can work together more.”

Though February is a rather down month in the realm of big bonner scholar events, the center for student leadership is organizing a speaker series for Black History Month. 

“That will be organized by the students activities board, black student union and diversity and belonging club,” Tharp said.