The Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement is responsible for mobilizing faculty, students, and staff to help sustain and advance the communities in which we live; in other words, to find mission-consistent ways to improve the quality of life for all. The institute works with partners throughout the Trenton community as well as Mercer, Burlington, and Hunterdon Counties to address many issues including poverty, homelessness, hunger, education, environmental needs, juvenile justice, health, immigration, and more. The Institute accomplishes all of this through the Bonner Community Scholars Corps, a group of over 100 TCNJ students who receive academic scholarship to provide meaningful service to the community and mobilize the campus as part of the Community Engaged Learning program. Within that group, teams of Bonners are part of environmentally-focused site teams, including ESC. Some of the work done by ESC and other Environmental sites in Bonner include:
The Thrift Project is a site that provides store support for the Trenton Rescue Mission. They also host Thrift Pop-Up Shops on campus where they sell gently-used clothing and educate the campus community on the environmental impact of the textile industry and the dangers of fast-fashion. All of the proceeds from the clothing go back to the Rescue Mission of Trenton to help support their causes – they provide housing and education for many local trenton residents. The money will go towards their education programs where the residents study for GED’s and learn important job skills; along with helping to support the resident programs and upkeep of the thrift shop itself! Follow The Thrift Project on Instagram @thethriftprojecttcnj
Meals on Wheels
The Meals on Wheels team addresses food insecurity. The city of Trenton is a food desert. Seniors and homebound individuals experiencing life in a food desert lack the access to food necessary to survive. Students on the team collaborate with Meals on Wheels to pick up and deliver meals and groceries to homebound seniors in Trenton. The Bonner Meals on Wheels team delivers meals to over 50 individuals a week.
TCNJ Campus Garden
Started in 2009, TCNJ’s campus garden is a partnership among PC3, Bonners, the TCNJ Biology Department, TCNJ Facilities and Grounds, and community partners. The garden produces an average of 500 pounds of organically grown produce a year. This food is donated to the Mercer Street Friends food bank where it is then distributed to in-need community groups and individuals. The garden serves as a source of food but also an educational resource for students. CELs are hosted in the fall, spring, and summer to educate TCNJ students on sustainable agriculture, food systems and inequality, and composting. Stay up-to-date with the TCNJ Campus Garden on Instagram @tcnj.bonner.garden
Bonner ESC Team
ESC Bonners plan and facilitate a variety of educational events, activities, and projects on campus focusing on the ESC initiatives. These are just some of the projects the team focuses on:
- Bike-to-Campus: In an effort to reduce the college’s commuting carbon footprint, Bonners are involved in a bike-to-campus campaign to encourage students, faculty, and staff to bike to, from, and around campus.
- Food Waste: Working with TCNJ Dining Services and Facilities and Grounds, Bonners have spearheaded efforts to redirect food waste from the landfill stream to an off-site compost facility. Bonners also host plate-scrapes to show the amount of food waste produced at dining halls. Moreover, in the summer of 2017 a Bonner student, Natalia Da Silva, submitted a Standard Operating Procedure and Compost Proposal to petition for the installation of a compost system at the TCNJ Campus Garden which was approved. The compost was officially installed in the fall of 2017.
- Educational Campaigns: Bonners regularly conduct tabling and interactive informational activities regarding electricity and water conservation, recycling, food waste, and end-of-year residence hall goods recycling.
- Earth Week: Earth Week events are coordinated and facilitated by Bonners annually. Planning begins in early January as most events, such as Greenstock, are made possible by bringing together all environmentally focused organizations on campus such as Environmental Club, Humanitarian Yoga, Bonner, ESC, Sustainability Institute, and research groups in Spring environmental courses.
- Transit and Transportation initiatives: Bonners and Bonner Institute staff conducted a campus-wide survey on transit and mobility patterns of the campus community to better understand mobility demands and areas for sustainability improvement. These results will be used to pursue transit and mobility improvements, including: shuttles between campus and transit centers, improved bus service, shuttles between campus and student-populated neighborhoods, improved bike and pedestrian amenities, and general parking and transportation adjustments.