Apr. 17-21, 2023
Five Online Deliberative Forums

2023 Bridging Wicked Divides Project: Deliberative Forums for College Students


Join us for an initiative encouraging students to deliberate together across political, geographic, and cultural differences.

2023 Bridging Wicked Divides Project: Deliberative Forums for College StudentsHosted during the National Week of Conversation, this event is the only nation-wide, open access, deliberative forum series exclusively for college students and moderated by trained facilitators, not bots. At the end, students will have the option to take a short survey that will help us assess the utility of cross-campus deliberations in combating polarization and finding common ground on wicked issues. Last year, we had over 250 students across 25+ campuses participate.  This is a great extra credit opportunity or a chance to incorporate deliberation into your classes without needing to organize and moderate the forum yourself.

We are also looking for moderators. Even if you don’t have experience facilitating deliberative forums, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn in a low-stakes setting. Training and a full set of facilitation materials will be provided in advance.  Also, we welcome student facilitators! This is perfect if you’re teaching a course in facilitating difficult conversations or for students in leadership programs. We have a small amount of funding to pay student facilitators.

The Bridging Wicked Divides project is jointly organized and enjoys support from James Madison University’s Madison Center for Civic Engagement, AASCU’s American Democracy Project, JMU’s Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue (ICAD), the Every Voice Engaged Foundation, and the National Week of Conversation and #ListenFirst Project.

Who should participate?

  • Students
  • Faculty

How will you benefit?

  • Deliberate together across political, geographic, and cultural differences
  • Combat polarization and find common ground
  • Extra credit opportunity
  • Incorporate deliberation into classes without needing to organize and moderate the forum
Schedule at a Glance

There are five online deliberative forums scheduled during the week – one per day at various times. Participants can attend any or all of these forums:

  • Youth and Opportunity: What Should We Do For Future Generations To Thrive?
    Monday, April 17, 2-3:30 p.m. ET
    Tuesday, April 18, 5-6:30 p.m. ET
  • Free Speech and the Inclusive Campus: How Do We Foster The Campus Community We Want?
    Wednesday, April 19, 8-9:30 p.m.ET
  • Immigration: Who Should We Welcome? What Should We Do?
    Thursday, April 20, 4-5:30 p.m. ET
  • Climate Choices
    Saturday, April 22, 1-2:30 p.m. ET

Once students register, we’ll send them a link to join the forum. We’ll also send them a link to an interactive version of the issue guide for them to review before deliberating.

Please email Kara Dillard with questions.