After a successful first event at the University of Georgia in April, the Common Ground Campus Initiative has announced that they will be accepting new school nominations for future events. The non-partisan effort promotes thoughtful dialogue between individuals on both sides of the political aisle.
"The non-partisan effort is a concept created by Felisa Blazek and Human Events Executive Editor Brent Hamachek. The initiative flips the typical campus debate format on its head, and instead discourages the argumentative approach often taken on college campuses, with an end goal of identifying points of agreement between both sides," the press release states.
"This program is the culmination of something that has been dancing in my head for years," Hamachek said. "I'm thankful to Jeff Webb and Human Events for their financial sponsorship and support and I am also appreciative of TPUSA and Democracy Matters for being our first participating sponsors. Most of all, I am grateful for the vision, professionalism, and just sheer determination of my partner, Felisa Blazek for taking an abstract idea and turning it into something real and making it happen."
Human Events' Hamachek praised the success of the first event and said that those who seek to "exercise control" over every aspect of American life should be "frightened."
"For 60 minutes, four college students with differing opinions sat and listened to each other. They asked questions and they learned," Hamachek wrote in a piece for Human Events.
Human Events Publisher Jeff Webb commended the initiative and said that he looks forward to sponsoring future events that aim to help the nation work towards "common goals."
"Human Events is proud to be sponsoring Common Ground Campus," Webb said. "Today our country is evenly divided politically and extremists on both sides are unwilling to compromise on anything. We are stuck in a political morass. People are crying out for rational collaboration. A program like Common Ground Campus benefits everyone."
"I spent 40 years building an organization that served young people in this country," Webb said. "I always found that we made the most progress when people were given a chance to be heard and were working toward a common goal. Common Ground Campus can help create those common goals."
Students at the University of Georgia who participated in the event expressed gratitude for the initiative.
Parth Patel, a Democracy Matters chapter leader who participated in the event called the initiative a "good first step in bridging the divide in politics seen around the country."
"It was great to promote and participate in a discussion such as the one Common Ground hosted," Patel told Human Events.
TPUSA participant and campus coordinator Jack Mallon said the event left him with an open mind.
"From the beginning, I realized the importance of Common Ground Campus's mission: talking about hard issues with the other side is something we need much more of, especially at universities," Mallon said. "From the discussion we had on stage to the conversations resulting from the event, I feel like my mindset and understanding of racial issues on campus has certainly been expanded."
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