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Private Higher Education
Date Approved

The current model of civic engagement in higher education is increasing political apathy, politicizing learning, and reinforcing polarization. COVID-19 and the election cycle are compounding the problem because young people are increasingly disconnected. BridgeUSA is improving civic engagement by disrupting the partisan nature of campus politics and revitalizing dialogue and discourse, which form the bedrock of a liberal arts education. Specifically, BridgeUSA is building a research-based and student-led model for civic engagement that advances three principles in higher education: viewpoint diversity, constructive engagement, and solution oriented politics. Their work has two prongs: chapter development and the national narrative. The project focus for this grant is chapter development. Bridge chapters are communities where ideologically diverse students can challenge their echo chambers, practice empathy, and become informed citizens. The vision is to have a Bridge chapter on every campus because the future of democracy will be shaped by the next generation of citizens. The proposed project will build on the last project and double the chapter count, connect student leaders, and position the movement to be an alternative to the existing civic engagement apparatus.