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bennion Scholars

The Bennion Scholars program strives to create positive, lasting change by forging academic, community, and personal passions. If you want to use your education to have a positive impact, while also joining a community of world-changers and life-long civically engaged students, you should join the Bennion Scholars program.

It usually takes two (2) academic years to complete the Bennion Scholars program. After you apply and are accepted to the program, you begin by taking the Intro to Civic Leadership course (BENN 2030). Then, you can take the Community Capstone Course (BENN 3825) the following semester and plan your Capstone Project. After you have completed the two required courses, you can begin work on your Capstone Project. Scholars typically take 1-3 semesters to complete their projects.

Capstone Projects must relate to your academic area of study, address a community-identified need, and have a sustainable impact. All Scholars work with a Community Partner and Faculty Mentor to develop and implement their Capstone Projects. Below are just a few examples of Capstone Projects: 

  • Amanda (Family and Consumer Studies, pre-Nursing) implemented a live TV show at Primary Children’s Hospital to improve the experience of pediatric patients.
  • Ivy (Writing and Rhetoric Studies, Pre-med) implemented a literacy program for refugee youth at Hser Ner Moo Community Center.
  • Bryan (Civil Engineering, Urban Ecology) worked with the Puerto Rican Agenda in Chicago to analyze demographics and gather grassroots information to inform an inclusive urban development plan
  • Lexi (Master of Public Administration) created a 5 year strategic plan for the newly formed nonprofit Fish for Garbage
  • Trevor (Chemistry, Biology, Pre-med) worked with SL County Aging Services and The Road Home to conduct a survey amongst elderly individuals experiencing homelessness to best serve their needs in the new homeless resource centers.
  • Megan (Communications) conducted a survey for The West View community newspaper to advise the volunteer board on how they can best serve Salt Lake’s west side residents' journalistic needs.

 It is great to work with people and organizations you already are familiar with for your capstone project. Take CEL classes in your major or minor to find faculty who are passionate about community work. Volunteer with community organizations to find possible partners who are addressing the issues you care most about. Ask questions and learn about how you might be able to help.

 Your capstone project must be related to your academics, whether that be your major, minor, or pre-professional area of study. This also applies to graduate students.

 This is possible depending on your major and those project requirements. In many cases, your Bennion Scholars project can - at a minimum - build on or add depth to your major project. In some cases, it is possible for your Bennion Scholars and major capstone projects to be one in the same. Please make an appointment to talk with the Bennion Scholars Program Manager to discuss your particular major and project idea(s).

Yes this is possible in many cases. For example, a Scholar majoring in Child Life Services helped implement a live TV show at Primary Children’s hospital to foster joy and hopefully improve pediatric patients’ experiences. For her Honors thesis, she utilized her Scholars Project as a case study and assessed the effectiveness of the TV show on the patients’ moods.

There are two scholarships available for students in the second year of the program - the Hugh Pinnock Community Engaged Scholarship and the Bennion Scholars Alumni Scholarship. These scholarships are meant to support students completing the program and their Capstone projects. Bennion Scholars can apply for these when they propose their Capstone Project. 

At this time, the Bennion Center does not have a specific fund to support Bennion Scholars’ capstone projects. However, there are other funding opportunities available. If you are wanting to implement an environmental capstone project on campus, you may apply for a SCIF Grant through the Sustainability Office. If you are doing a research-based capstone project, you can apply for UROP funding. There is also Capstone funding available through the Office of Undergraduate Research. Many students have found additional external funding to support the work of their capstone projects. They will often complete grant applications with their Community Partners.

Yes, we accept applications on a rolling basis.

A transcript designation appears on your official transcript under the “Honors and Awards” section. There are only four transcript designation programs on campus. The “Bennion Scholars” transcript designation is an official way to indicate that community engagement was a core tenet in your academic achievements.  Transcript designations help you stand out as a student who was involved in more than academics during your time at the U.

It is helpful to break down the 400 hours to best see how it is very possible for you to complete this requirement: 

  • 100 of the 400 hours are designated for the completion of the Capstone Project.
  • Up to 100 hours of community service completed while pursuing your degree but prior to enrolling in the Bennion Scholars program can be counted toward the total of 400.
  • Up to 100 hours of service conducted for academic credit (in CEL designated classes) and/or service supported through grants, stipends, or scholarships can generally be accepted.
  • This leaves an additional 100 hours to be completed with a public or non-profit organization during your time as a Bennion Scholar


You can find numerous volunteer opportunities with the Bennion Center in our Community Partnership Programs, Alternative Breaks, or student leadership positions. Complete our volunteer interest form to get more information.

Only hours completed during your pursuit of your current academic degree can be used to fulfill the 400 hour volunteer requirement. You may log up to 100 hours that were completed before you began the Bennion Scholars program but still during your most recent degree.

Life as a student can be quite hectic. The Bennion Scholars program attracts many students who are already very involved and still wanting to do more for their communities. We have had many students navigate these scheduling difficulties and succeed! The best advice for how to balance the Bennion Scholars program with your other commitments is to talk with a peer on the Scholars Leadership Team. Complete the information request form to set up a time to meet or talk.

You receive a lot of support throughout this program and your capstone project. Each year, you are paired with a mentor on the Scholars Leadership Team. Your mentor will reach out to you to complete your required check-in each semester, answer any questions you may have about the program, and provide any support you may need. You are also welcome to ask the Bennion Scholars Program Manager any question you may have about the program. During your capstone project, you will have a Faculty Mentor and Community Partner to support you. These individuals will be there to provide feedback, guidance, and support.

A Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) course involves students, faculty and community partners working together to apply knowledge in authentic settings in order to address community needs while also meeting instructional objectives. It is a strategy, a process, an experience that involves both action and reflection. CEL courses get you out of the classroom and into the community. You can find all the CEL designated courses for any given semester by going to that semester’s class schedule and filtering by “Other Course Attributes” > ”CEL.”

You are required to complete 10 credits of CEL for this program. 4-6 of those credits are earned through the two required courses:

  • Intro to Civic Leadership (BENN 2030) is a 3 credit course offered fall and spring semesters.
  • Community Capstone Methods (BENN 3825) is a 1-3 variable credit course offered online fall and spring semesters. This course requires a permission code to register, and the Intro to Civic Leadership course is a prerequisite. 

The additional 4-6 credits of Community Engaged Learning (CEL) coursework can be completed in the classes of your choosing. CEL classes may be found in almost every discipline. Any prior CEL credits may be applied to the program requirements. In order to receive credit, the class must have a CEL designation in the “Course Attributes” column of the online course catalog.

The Intro to Civic Leadership course (BENN 2030) is offered in-person fall and spring semesters. The Community Capstone Methods course (BENN 3825) is offered fall and spring semesters as an online course.

Click here to apply!

 


Faculty Mentors

Please contact Andi Witczak (andi.witczak@utah.edu) with specific questions.

Please contact Andi Witczak (andi.witczak@utah.edu) with specific questions.

Please contact Andi Witczak (andi.witczak@utah.edu) with specific questions.

 


Community Partners

Please contact Andi Witczak (andi.witczak@utah.edu) with specific questions.

Please contact Andi Witczak (andi.witczak@utah.edu) with specific questions.

Please contact Andi Witczak (andi.witczak@utah.edu) with specific questions.

 


This page is still being developed.


We're working hard to bring new resources to our website, and we thank you for your patience as we strive to ensure that the resources are of the quality students and partners deserve before sharing them.

For any questions regarding the content of this page before it is released, please contact Megan Medina, Bennion Scholars Program Manager.

Last Updated: 6/11/20