Interfaith Youth Core’s Bridging the Gap (BTG) program is an intensive, immersive experience engaging ideologically, racially, and religiously different groups of college students to become future leaders in the bridge-building movement on their campuses, in their careers and communities, and in broader society. The model blends classroom teaching, relationship-building, and collaborative policy projects providing students theoretical and practical applications for working with people to solve social issues even when they have fundamental disagreements. Program evaluation illustrates the impact of BTG reaches well beyond each participant’s personal bridge-building growth, influencing positive change on campus and in community well into the future.
After two successful pilot phases, Bridging the Gap has found a new organizational home at Interfaith Youth Core and is well-positioned to expand programming to 20 campuses during the upcoming year. We aim to: (1) shift the paradigm away from one in which defensive postures are celebrated; (2) equip college students with the skills and motivation to transform our culture to one where curiosity, humility, comfort with discomfort, and productive tension are the norm; and (3) build a society where the heroes are the bridge-builders.