The Bonner Leaders - University of Houston
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Leading in Service

The Bonner Leaders are students dedicated to improving lives in the community. They respond to the economic, social, and cultural challenges affecting the quality of life in the city of Houston.  The Bonners are top academic performers who learn by engaging in the community.  Through their project-based service, Bonners learn critical skills, including leadership, teamwork, project planning, and time management.

The Bonner Commitment

Students admitted to the UH Bonner program are expected to undergo a rigorous learning and growth experience which consists of a "core" two years of service on a Bonner project (see below), leadership-development seminars and issue area learning, and eventual project executive leadership. This core two-year experience is followed by a more flexible and customizable service-learning period in which students can design their own experience and engagement opportunities or choose from a set of pre-identified opportunities. These upperclassman years might include further project leadership, policy or issue area research, a basic membership, external internship, Bonner senior internship, or other opportunities.

Bonner students serve on one of five Bonner projects aimed at alleviating the effects of poverty in Houston in the areas of education and food insecurity. Projects include:

  • Austin Test Prep (ATP) – SAT and college readiness tutoring and mentoring with high school juniors and seniors with partners Stephen F. Austin High School and Breakthrough Houston
  • Food Insecurity Team (FIT) – Food distribution and nutrition education for community members with partners New Hope Housing, Riverside Methodist Church, Yates High School, and the Houston Food Bank
  • ImpACT – ACT and college readiness tutoring and mentoring with high school juniors and seniors with partners KIPP Sunnyside High School and KIPP Houston
  • Science Mentoring for a Richer Tomorrow (SMART) – Science mentoring and tutoring with 5th graders at partner with partner Shearn Elementary School
  • Writing to Inspire Successful Education (WISE) – Writing and reading tutoring with 4th and 5th graders with partner Briscoe Elementary School

Why Service Learning

Service-learning is a rewarding and transformative experience, and it can produce great impact in the community. Why do students choose to dedicate their time to collaborating with their community and learning about service-learning during their undergradaute career? Learn from students about their Bonner experience and their service-learning journies.


The mission of the Bonner Leaders Progam at the University of Houston is to create high-quality educational experiences for students, while simultaneously working to build a better Houston community.  We do this by focusing on the factors that perpetuate the cycle of poverty: food insecurity, educational achievement, and community health and nutritionWe believe that working with and through partners not only contributes to the community, but also enriches and enhances the student learning experience.
Bonner student at food distribution site


"The coronavirus pandemic has thrown much of everyday life into upheaval, but the Bonner Leaders program in the Honors College has not stood still. In fact, 85 students in the Bonner program have been actively involved in civic engagement, consistently devoting 5-10 hours a week to service work centered on issues such as food insecurity and educational inequality to improve the lives within the Houston community."

Read the full story here...

students at beach cleanup

Bonner Blog - Find Out What the Bonners are Doing and Learning About

Tune into the Bonner Blog to find out what Bonners have to say about their service-learning experience and their undergraduate journey. In addition, you can learn more about our community partners' work, as well as what our alumni are doing now.

Read the Blog

University of Houston Bonner Leaders Year in Review '20-'21

In a year challenging for all, the Bonner Leaders did not put their commitment to community on pause. Congratulations to all that the Bonners have accomplished this year, and congratulations to all the graduating 2021 Bonner Leaders. We look forward to hearing about all the great things you do in your community!

Bonner HFB

Be Part of the Change

Be A Bonner

The Bonner Leaders program welcomes incoming Honors freshmen to apply to the program.  Interested students need only to fill out this application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified once their application has been reviewed. 

Serve with Bonner

Service is not exclusive to Bonners. We invite all students interested in performing service in the community and fighting poverty to join us. If you are interested in getting engaged with service in Honors, please fill out this Honors Service Interest Form and you will be contacted by a member of the Bonner leadership team.   

Have Questions? Contact us!                                   

Doug Erwing
Director, Bonner Leaders Program

Trinity Rinear
Assistant Director, Bonner Leaders Program

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