From cable news to social media, we tend to get information that confirms what we already believe. We live in media bubbles. And while it's human nature to find that comforting, it’s not so healthy for our country.
In October 2021, Unify America piloted the first-ever Unify Challenge College Bowl with 10 universities from across the county to help students share perspectives across differences and strengthen their civic muscles. Today, nearly 80 colleges and universities have joined as partners.
Two college students—total strangers from different schools with different political leanings or backgrounds—were matched into a one-on-one guided video conversation to talk about big goals for our country.
Yikes. Sound like trouble—or at least really awkward conversations? That’s what the students thought, too.
But to their big surprise, the student pairs found more agreement than they expected as the partners walked through 17 different goals for America across with topics ranging from free speech and criminal justice to immigration and education.
The Unify Challenge College Bowl is designed with a super simple set-up.
From submitting your registration to the start of the College Bowl, this is a turnkey experience for faculty and staff. Most professors spend just 10-15 minutes reviewing and sharing materials with students, and the Unify America team takes care of the rest.
Download a handy dandy timeline for participating professors and university staff here.
Unify America handled all the heavy lifiting and provided professors materials for their classrooms, a unique landing page for student sign-ups, an attendance dashbaord, and an impact report with the post-Challenge data.
Professors reported success across their diverse classrooms ranging in subjects from political science 101 and senior-level publc policy capstone classes to business communication.
Despite feeling nervous at the beginning, the majority of university students were surprised by how much they found agreement and how much they enjoyed a conversation with a stranger from a different “bubble.”
Here are stories from three students who participated in the 2022 Fall College Bowl:
Mississippi State University
University of Louisville
University of Akron
participated in our bi-annual College Bowls since October 2021
rated the experience an 8 or higher (on a scale of 1-10)
surveyed would consider using the Unify Challenge again in their classrooms
participated in our College Bowls since October 2021
Interested in bringing the Unify Challenge to your classroom or university? Schedule a 30-minute chat with our team, or sign up for our upcoming College Bowl.Schedule a time to chat
Unify America is a cross-partisan nonprofit on a mission to replace political fighting with problem-solving. We create evidence-based interactive experiences that encourage constructive conversations across political ideologies and backgrounds.
Founded by Harry Nathan Gottlieb (founder of Jellyvision and Jackbox Games), we’re a team of game makers, tech makers, anthropologists, and business leaders who all share a passion for bringing Americans together.