Since our inception in 2013, Bonners have been working tirelessly to effectively address the needs of the members of the Third Ward community. In that short time, we have had many incredible successes. These achievements, however, will serve only as stepping stones for the great work the Bonner Program aims to achieve in the future.
UH Annual MLK Day of Service
The UH Bonners, in partnership with various campus departments and organizations, worked to develop the 2015 MLK Day of Service. The Saturday following MLK Day, students, faculty, staff and alumni came together to perform service in the surrounding Third Ward community. Volunteers served with community partners, including Forge 4 Families, Interfaith Ministries, Generation One, the Houston Food Bank and the Houston Public Library.
Bonners participated in the planning and execution of the event, including securing service sites, marketing the event, documenting the day and serving as site and bus leaders. With over 450 participants, this event marked the largest service event in the history of the University of Houston. Volunteers were involved in revamping a community center, clearing lots, rearranging the library and creating food packages. Involving students in their community is a large part of how the Bonner Leaders are working to create a culture of service both on campus and in the city of Houston.
The Campus Kitchens at the University of Houston
The Campus Kitchen at the University of Houston is the first at a public university in Texas. The Campus Kitchen at the University of Houston aims to eliminate food waste by recovering uneaten food from UH dining halls and serve them to residents at New Hope Housing. Since its conception, our chapter recovered and delivered over 3500 pounds of food to low-income residents at New Hope Housing. We raised nearly $10,000 for our project via the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge, Sodexo Foundation, and UH Center for Student Involvement. We’ve established relationships with our partners, specifically Aramark Dining Services, the Hilton College for Hotel and Restaurant Management, the Honors College, and most importantly, with the residents we serve at New Hope Housing. We currently deliver to three NHH locations at Brays Crossing, Canal, and Perry.
Our University is one of only two Bonner chapters in the nation to have a Campus Kitchen, and we’re working with the national Campus Kitchens Project to encourage others to follow in our footsteps. We are committed to bringing more attention to the importance of fighting hunger and eliminating food waste, as well as making a lasting impact on the Third Ward community.
Bonner Congress 2015
The 2015 Bonner Congress was held at the University of Houston in October. Bonner students from around the country gathered in Houston, Texas to reflect on what it means to be a community leader and how to go #allin with their service. Visiting representatives and UH Bonners came together to reflect on what it means to be a Bonner.
The University of Houston was honored to host the 2015 Congress in the year of the Foundation’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The Houston team worked hard to ensure that our fellow Bonners had the opportunity to explore our program, campus and city. Inspiring speeches, wonderful workshops and fun social events ensured the weekend was unforgettable. Being such a young program, hosting Bonner Congress allowed us to share our entrepreneurial approach as well as learn from experienced programs. Bonner Congress allows our program to receive feedback and support from the Bonner Foundation, which will aid us in our hopes to expand our work further into the surrounding Houston community.
UH Regents’ Academic Excellence Award
On February 18, 2016, the University of Houston System Board of Regents presented the Regents’ Academic Excellence Award to the Bonner Program in recognition of the public service that Bonners do in the Houston community and our effort to build a Tier One culture of service at the University of Houston.
Accepting the award at the Board of Regents meeting were Honors College Dean William Monroe, as well as Bonner Director Andrew Hamilton, and Bonner student Brinda Penmetsa. The award is a significant credit to the incredible work all Bonners are tirelessly doing on their long-term service projects. Our food recovery program has delivered more than two tons of food to low-income residents. Our middle school mentoring program has raised students’ passing and recommended rates on the benchmark STAAR tests, with the actual test in March. Our high school college prep program has raised students’ SAT scores an average of 100 points. These are among many of our successes this past semester alone, with more expansion of our program and service projects in the near future. It is an honor to receive this award, and we look forward to doing more good work in the future.