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UVA Center for Politics invites you to take the Unify Challenge.

Take the first step, break out of your bubble, and have a conversation with a fellow American about larger goals for our country.

Sign Up for the Unify Challenge

What is the Unify Challenge?

Illustration - two characters taking the Unify Challenge

You start by having a guided conversation with someone outside your “bubble.”

Get paired with someone who lives outside your “bubble” over a video call. You’ll take a guided survey together about goals for America across a dozen topics.

The Unify Challenge is proving that when it comes to big goals for our country… we’re not that far apart.

It’s human nature to feel comfortable with “our own tribe”... but it’s not so healthy for our country. Meet face-to-face with a fellow American who you might never get to know in your real life.

Or on social media. If you think people who voted “for the other guy” or watch that news channel are, well... fill in the blank... you will likely be surprised. In a good way!

"This challenge was such a unique experience. Never before have I had such an in-depth conversation about my beliefs, let alone with a complete stranger. It’s an experience that I think everyone deserves to have and should have."

Jack T. | Elmhurst, IL

Here’s how it works

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

Illustration - Boxer character (facing right)Illustration - Boxer character (facing left)
Illustration - Character filling out their survey

1. Tell us about yourself.

Start by answering a basic questions so we can match you with the perfect partner. Your partner 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. There are 5 evenings in October to choose from.

2. What you’ll need…

You’ll need a laptop or desktop computer. 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!

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.

Illustration - Characters excited after completing their Unify Challenge

FAQs

Who will I be paired up with? What if we don’t get along?

You will be paired with another American who you wouldn’t ordinarily interact with in your daily life. You may not always agree (and that’s the beauty of it!) but everyone does this with the best of intentions. People worry that they'll be paired with a troll or someone combative. In our experience, this simply doesn't happen. But if it does, you can just leave the conversation and contact us.

I’m not a political expert. Do I need to do homework?

Nope. No need to prepare at all.

How are people matched?

Our system tries to match folks who are political opposites first. Sometimes, people who are more politically aligned but are different geographically or demographically get matched. We have a special experience for those Challenge matches!

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.

Illustration - Characters bowing to eachother

Let’s come together and find the power in sharing different views.

Sign Up for the Unify Challenge
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