Bard undergraduates are actively engaged in a variety of projects and volunteer efforts on campus and off, during the academic year and during intersession and summer breaks. The Trustee Leader Scholar Program oversees several dozen student-led projects each semester; examples of these initiatives can be found immediately below and throughout this chapter. The College also works with affiliated institutes, local and international partners, alumni/ae, and others to provide internship opportunities.
Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program In keeping with Bard’s ethos of encouraging active involvement at all levels of campus life, TLS students design and implement civic engagement projects based on their own compelling interests and the needs of communities. At any given time, the program has between 45 and 50 formal TLS scholars, but for every scholar leading a project, another 10 students participate. Most projects run for multiple years, and several have run for more than a decade. Current TLS projects include helping to restore the vote for formerly incarcerated men and women in New Orleans, running educational and arts programs for children in a small Nicaraguan village, running ESL programs for migrant laborers and their families in the Hudson Valley, offering play and educational support for behaviorally challenged youth, and building a youth center and playground in a West Bank village. A number of TLS projects have become permanent, College-sponsored initiatives, including the Bard Prison Initiative; La Voz, a Spanish-language magazine widely circulated in the Mid-Hudson Valley; Bard Early College in New Orleans; and the Bard College Farm. Others have won Davis Projects for Peace, including Cuerdas para Cali (Strings for Cali), a group of Bard music students who coach a classical youth orchestra in the Siloé slums of Cali, Colombia.
Every Bard student is eligible to apply for TLS status. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and acceptance is based primarily on the student’s willingness and capacity to direct a large-scale project. Student leaders receive stipends in exchange for their participation in the program. TLS students meet one-on-one with the program director and assistant; take part in skill-building workshops; and prepare formal project proposals, budgets, and evaluations. They are offered hands-on opportunities to acquire skills in grant writing, lesson planning, and group facilitation. TLS workshops also deal with public speaking, effective interpersonal communication, and awareness building around issues of power, authority, and difference. All TLS projects draw on the participation and support of volunteers from the student body and greater Bard community. For more information, visit cce.bard.edu/civic-action/tls.
Bard Leads is a student-run leadership conference that explores the many ways leadership is defined and practiced at Bard. The conference, held before the start of the fall semester, helps participants—a mix of first-year and returning students—understand the range of leadership opportunities on campus and off. Through workshops, talks, and open dialogue “conver-sessions,” students learn how to get involved in the Bard community.
Student Fellowships are available for students interested in creating projects that focus on elections, women’s leadership, global civic engagement, and activism. Students hone leadership and media skills while developing projects that engage the Bard student body and community in Annandale and beyond.