ADL Announces Winner of Innovate Against Hate Campus Challenge

New York, NY, June 14, 2018 … Four students from Boise State University have been selected by a panel of experts and leaders as the first-prize winners of a the Anti-Defamation League’s inaugural Innovate Against Hate campus challenge, a nationwide contest that challenged students from across the country to build and launch a social marketing campaign aimed at countering hate and extremism.

The Boise State University student project, called S.A.M.E. (Students Against Misogynistic Establishments) focused on combating violence against women by targeting at-risk men who might be recruited to misogynistic and male supremacist hate groups perpetuating and normalizing violent misogyny.  The group was declared the winner of the top prize of $5,000, after competing at a live event in Washington, D.C. against two other student groups from the University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska. 

“We were seeing a problem on our campus and in our community, where misogyny and violence are acting as a gateway to other forms of extremism which were growing and needed to be confronted,” said Janice Witherspoon, 21, one of the student project leaders of S.A.M.E. “We’re seeing that people are starting to take the issue more realistically, and we hope to take our mission to a national level, combating this on other campuses and communities across the country.”

ADL: Innovate Against Hate challenged students to implement a big idea that will confront and respond to the growing campus presence of hate groups or counter bad speech with good speech. 

“I have seen similar programs dedicated to countering extremism, but in this era of heightened hate and bias across a broad spectrum of ideologies, it demanded a broadened scope – and these students rose to the challenge,” said George Selim, Senior Vice President of Programs at ADL and former national security official.  “It is critical that issues like misogyny receive more attention for their role in a broader spectrum of hate and extremism.  We are also inspired by the results of the other student campaigns, including the other two teams who countered bias against immigrants and refugees.”

The program was developed in partnership with EdVenture Partners (EVP), an educational organization that has 28 years of experience developing innovating industry-education partnership programs, and Facebook, which provided advertising credits for student teams and FaribaYassaee, Facebook Policy Manager, served as a member of the judging panel for the final challenge.  Other judges included: Imam Magid, Executive Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia; Ron Estrada, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Empowerment for Univision Communications Inc.; Ashley Bell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center; Amy Blumkin, Vice President for Brand and Marketing at the Anti-Defamation League; and Sally O’Brien, Senior Vice President of Institutional Partnerships at The Pew Charitable Trusts

The semester-long challenge for student teams was comprised of 19 schools countering hate online and in their local communities, culminating in the top three teams competing in a final challenge, hosted by New America.

ADL: Innovate Against Hate is designed to empower the very people effected most by hateful content on social media—young people—to be the catalysts for a student-led wave of creative messaging and innovation in response to the hate and extremism they see in communities across the country.

Editor’s Note: Student participants and members of the winning team are available for interviews.  For more information contact ADLMedia@adl.org

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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