ADL Announces Student Finalists in "Innovate Against Hate" Campus Challenge

Top three student teams will compete for prizes at livestreamed event in Washington, D.C.

New York, NY, June 4, 2018 – The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today announced the top three finalists in the ADL: Innovate Against Hate campus program, which challenged students at 19 universities in 16 states to develop and launch a social media and marketing campaign working to counter hate and extremism on campus and in society. The pilot program was developed by ADL in partnership with EdVenture Partners, an educational organization with expertise in developing and implementing peer-to-peer teaching programs at the university level.

Student-led teams from Boise State University, the University of Maryland (College Park), and the University of Nebraska (Omaha) have been selected as the top finalists. Those teams will present their projects before a jury panel and an audience of industry leaders at a livestreamed event on June 12 at a joint event with New America in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of the last semester, the 19 student teams competed against one another to build, launch and scale a social marketing campaign working to counter hate and extremism in campus and society. The top three finalists are:

  • Maryland Frame, an initiative created by students at the University of Maryland working toward reframing attitudes about immigration on campus while mobilizing students to become more involved.  Their program targeted the “silent majority” on the UMD campus with a goal to increase their involvement in helping immigrant and international students succeed on campus (Facebook | Twitter).
  • Room at Our Table, a project created by students at the University of Nebraska in Omaha that challenges stereotypes and false narratives about refugees, which had a target audience of the “uncommitted population” and college-age individuals in the Nebraska area (Facebook | Instagram).
  • S.A.M.E – Students Against Misogynistic Establishments, an initiative promoting women’s rights and raising awareness about domestic violence at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho (Facebook | Twitter).

“These entrepreneurial young people have created inspiring campaigns to mobilize people at the community level. These campaigns have the power to grow and change perceptions and even change lives,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The future of combating hate and building a better future begins with young people who understand how grass-roots activism mixed with digital and social media tools can create powerful movements for change.”

The student teams will deliver their final presentations before the judges on Tuesday, June 12 at a joint event with New America in Washington, D.C. The event will be livestreamed so all of the students involved in the program may watch the finalist teams compete for the top prize.

The participating judges include Ashley Bell, founder and CEO of the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center; Ron Estrada, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Univision; Imam Magid, Executive Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center; Sally O’Brien, SVP of Institutional Partnerships, The Pew Charitable Trusts; George Selim, SVP Programs, Anti-Defamation League; and Fariba Yassaee, Policy Manager, Facebook.

Each of the student-led teams will have 10 minutes to present their campaign followed by five minutes of responding to judges’ questions. Following the presentations, the jury panel will deliberate and determine the final placement of the three teams. The first-place winner will win a cash prize of $5,000, and the second- and third-place winners will receive $3,000 and $1,000, respectively.

This semester, the 19 student teams created a series of innovative campaigns raising awareness of differences and seeking to counter hate speech. Their campaigns included those seeking to reduce stereotypes, counter LGBTQ and gender discrimination, undermine extremist ideologies, promote social inclusion, challenge hate speech and the use of slurs, counter stereotypes about refugees, and end racial discrimination.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.