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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."

Illustration - Boxer character (facing right)
Here’s how it works

Let’s choose to put down our gloves and come together.

Illustration - Boxer character (facing left)
Animated GIF of a person being assigned a partner

1. Tell us about yourself.

Start by answering a few questions. This part’s easy! Just answer a few basic questions so we can match you with the perfect partner. Your match may vote differently than you do or be someone you’d never get the chance to meet in your daily life.

Then, you’ll pick a date for your Challenge. We typically run them in the evenings.

2. What you’ll need…

You’ll need a computer. (The Challenge DOES NOT work on your phone or a tablet.)

Give yourself about an hour. Some partners chat longer because they get into it. Totally up to you!

And you’ll need an open mind. It’s OK to disagree. In fact, it’s great to disagree.

The best Challenges are ones where people find common ground and get into productive but respectful disagreement.

Illustration - Characters getting matched
Illustration - Characters chatting in a Unify Challenge

3. Take 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. It’s a guided survey that you take together about goals for the country around issues like healthcare, immigration, the economy, education, criminal justice, and more. You don't have to be “into politics” — no prep needed!

Something very special happens when you hop on a video call with another American who you’d simply never meet in your daily life. When we’re with our “tribe,” we bond. We hit “like.” We re-tweet. But when we’re outside our bubble... we bridge. It’s a cool experience.

4. Feel hopeful and tell everyone you know what you just did.

Hope? What’s that? This experience is exhilarating. You’ll want to tell everyone you know what you just did.

It’s like going on a rollercoaster that looks scary, but after you go on it and you zoom through the drops and loops, you're like “I want to do that again!” The Unify Challenge is like that but without the long lines and screaming 13 year olds.

Animated GIF of a person wearing a prize ribbon


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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