Slider arrow - Left

Back to all

Bridging the Political Divide: College Student Edition

Morgan Lasher

Morgan Lasher

Oct 26, 2022

Nov 28, 2022

Chicago, IL (October 26, 2022) — Unify America, a nonpartisan nonprofit on a mission to build problem-solving and civics skills, partnered with professors and staff members across 46 universities for its Fall 2022 Unify Challenge College Bowl.  

Student participants from across the country joined the virtual Unify Challenge over six days to share perspectives across differences and strengthen their civic muscles. 

Here’s how it worked: 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 the country. 

The student pairs report finding more agreement than they expected as the partners walk through 17 different goals for America with topics ranging from free speech and criminal justice to immigration and education.

In fact, according to a post-Challenge feedback survey, 86% of participating students rated the experience an 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10, 70% said they feel more hopeful about the country after taking the Unify Challenge, and interestingly, 54% said they were more likely to vote in the upcoming midterm elections after taking the Unify Challenge

Are you up for the Challenge?

Interested in a simple but powerful way to help this country heal? Join the thousands of people who are taking the Unify Challenge.

Learn more

Professors, too, reported success across their diverse classrooms ranging in subjects from political science 101 to business communications.

“We all have a role to play in keeping the republic, and part of that is learning to have productive conversations with people who are different from you. That's what the Unify Challenge does,” explains Weber State professor Leah A. Murray, Ph.D.

For the professors, the Unify America team offers materials for their classrooms, a unique college landing page for student sign-ups, a student attendance dashboard, and an impact report with the post-Challenge data. 

First piloted in October 2021 with ten universities, the Unify Challenge College Bowl more than doubled its participation among students, staff, and colleges for its third nationwide College Bowl which concluded on October 7, 2022. 

Universities, colleges, and centers include Barry University, Benedict College, Binghamton University, Carnegie Melon University, Clark Atlanta University, College of DuPage, Colorado State University, Community College of Baltimore County, Duke University, Elmhurst College, Emporia State University, Florida International University, Gustavus Adolphus College, Kansas University, Lone Star College-Tomball, Loyola University Maryland, Mesa Area Community College, Metropolitan Community College, Miami Dade College, Mississippi State University, Penn State, Radford University, San Antonio College, Simpson College, Suffolk University, Trinidad State College, Trinity University (Texas), UNC Pembroke, University of Akron, University of Central Arkansas, University of Delaware, University of Dubuque, University of Findlay, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Louisville, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, University of Southern California, University of Texas - Tyler, UVA Center for Politics, Wabash College, Weber State University, West Virginia University, and Wilkes University. 

Dr. Murray sums up the program in this way: “Having done variations on this theme for 20 years—trying to get students to talk across campuses—this is the best way we've done it.”

For more information on Unify America or the Unify Challenge College Bowl, please visit www.unifyamerica.org/college-bowl.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for our newsletter to join the thousands of Americans who are making a difference, and then consider sharing it.

You might also be interested in...