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Hi, University of Southern California students!

Welcome to the Unify Challenge College Bowl 2024! Join thousands of students from over 150 campuses by sharing your voice in a one-on-one conversation about goals for our country.

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Illustration - two characters taking the Unify Challenge

Let’s show the nation how civil conversations can make a big difference in our country.

The Unify Challenge College Bowl is a guided video conversation with a student from another university–a student who likely has a different background, different life experiences, and different points of view from yours. 

Together, the two of you follow a discussion guide describing big goals for our country. You’ll cover topics like mental health, climate change, police reform, and free speech on campus.  

It’s human nature to feel most comfortable staying in our bubble with our own “tribe,” but it’s not so healthy for our country. By participating in the Unify Challenge College Bowl, you’ll help prove that when it comes to our hopes for America, we’re really not that far apart, and that discussing our differences openly and respectfully only helps close the gap further.  

Mieko (University of Utah)

"It made me feel more comfortable to disagree with people... and hear the other side of things."

Jada (Western Michigan University)

"My partner was super cool and we had a lot of the same views. And even the times when we didn't, we were very understanding about being able to listen to each other."

Wyler (UW-Eau Claire)

"I definitely felt nervous going into the challenge...but we had a lot more in common than I would have thought going into it."

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Here's how the
Unify Challenge
College Bowl works

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Illustration - Character filling out their survey

1. Tell us about yourself.

Start by answering a few basic questions so we can match you with the perfect partner. Your partner may have a different political ideology than you, or different perspectives on certain issues than you, or be someone you’d never get the chance to meet in your daily life. 

Then, you’ll pick a time and date for your Challenge. You'll find 14 options in February and March 2024.

2. Get ready.

You’ll need a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam (phones and tablets don't work).

Try to find a quiet place so that your conversation can be private. And make sure you’ve got good lighting so your partner can see you.

Prepare yourself to be open-minded and ready to both share and listen. (And feeling nervous is normal and totally fine.)

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Illustration - Characters chatting in a Unify Challenge

3. Join the Challenge and have a conversation.

You may be thinking, “A video conversation with a complete stranger? What will we talk about?” Don’t worry. We make it super easy. Together, you and your partner will follow a discussion guide about goals for the country on issues like mental health, climate change, police reform, and more. You don't have to be “into politics” and there’s no prep needed.

The Challenge typically takes about an hour, but there's no timer or countdown clock. You control the pace.

FAQs

Who will I be paired up with?

Our matching algorithm will pair you with a student you likely would never meet otherwise. They may be from another school, have a different background and different life experiences than you, and may have a totally different political ideology than yours. The two of you may not always agree (that’s the beauty of it!), but you might find you have a lot in common when it comes to what you want for our country.

What if my partner is a rude, insensitive troll?

People sometimes worry that they'll be paired with someone combative and disrespectful. In our experience, this simply doesn't happen in the Unify Challenge College Bowl. But on the off chance that it does, please hit the "Need Help" button on your screen, or exit the conversation and contact us at events@unifyamerica.org.

Do I need to know a lot about politics?

Nope. All you need is an open mind, and a willingness to share your perspective and listen to your partner’s.

Will my email address or contact info be shared with my partner?

No. We protect your privacy. Some people really like getting to know each other and may choose to share contact info — but that’s entirely up to you!

Do you screen participants?

People worry about this and wonder if they’ll encounter a troll. To date, we have never had this issue. Unify America attracts folks who are worried about toxic polarization. Most have had politics divide their families and friends. These are people who are part of the “exhausted majority.” On the off-chance you get matched with an idiot, you can always just hit the Help button or simply close your browser.

How much time will it take?

Plan for about an hour. Sometimes it takes less time… and sometimes partners go longer because they are so interested in the conversation.

What kind of computer setup do I need?

You will need a desktop or a laptop computer that you can use for a video call. The experience won’t work on a mobile phone. We will walk you through everything — it’s easy.

Join thousands of students from more than 150 colleges and universities

Here are a few colleges and universities that are joining the Challenge, too.

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