Bonner Center for Service

The Bonner Center for Service at Rhodes is home to the Laurence F. Kinney Program, the Bonner Scholars, the City Lynx community service work study program, and Project Pericles. All of these programs share a common commitment to civic engagement and service to the community.

Rhodes has long been committed to connecting students to learning experiences outside the classroom. In 1925, our campus moved from rural Tennessee to Memphis to provide more opportunities for our students. Those connections include a multitude of national and international companies, a thriving biotechnology and medical sector, and a burgeoning technology and marketing community. Memphis is also known for its commitment to giving. With more than 5,000 nonprofits in the Memphis metropolitan area, Memphis was recently named one of the most charitable cities in the country. This culture of giving has a long history on our campus as well.

With more than 100 community partners cross the city, students have the option to serve the community based on their interests and passions, or to engage with organizations that align closely with their academic majors. Students can get involved in advocacy initiatives, educational events, large-scale service plunges, or weekly service that connects them more deeply to a cause or organization. 

Over time, all of these programs have contributed to the evolution of service on our campus. Moving beyond traditional approaches that focus on charity, the Bonner Center encourages students to examine the community through the lens of academics and to consider our interactions as “with, not for.” We aspire to be partners with our community stakeholders and to develop engaged, transformational relationships.  

For more information, 
call 901-843-3849
or stop by the Bonner Center, West Campus
HR/Bookstore Building, 2nd Floor

two female students carry boxes in front of a mural

In the 1950s, The Laurence F. Kinney Program was established by students who wanted to reach out and help others. Among the efforts supported by the Kinney Program is the longest operating student-led soup kitchen in the country. This commitment to service is the foundation for how Rhodes engages with the Memphis community today. Students engage in service in twelve focus areas on campus and throughout Memphis.

Two women crouch down by the ground with spades, cleaning weeds from the grooves of the pavement

The Bonner program provides a 4-year scholarship to 15 incoming students each year who have financial need and a commitment to service and social justice. Bonner Scholars dedicate 10 hours per week to community service at nonprofits in the community. As part of this program, Bonner Scholars also participate in educational, skills-building, and reflective programs and events.

A female student shows dance steps to a group of children

In 1992, the federal work study program expanded to include community service work study. Students who are eligible for federal work study programs as part of their financial aid package may choose the City Lynx community service work study program instead of campus based placements. 

Interested first year students should attend the informational session during Open Rhodes to learn more about the program and get information on the application process. Current students interested in joining City Lynx should email to inquire about open positions.

Some students work in a garden up against a wall

Project Pericles is a consortium of 31 colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement within higher education. Specifically, this collaboration works to encourage faculty to incorporate civic engagement and social responsibility into the curriculum, and to empower students as effective advocates and leaders.