• March 6, 2018

  New York, NY, March 5, 2018 …

In response to the challenge of rising hate on college campuses, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has launched a new program challenging students to build, launch and scale a social marketing campaign that will work to counter hate on extremism in campus and society.

The ADL: Innovate Against Hate (Hashtag = #InnovateAgainstHate) campus challenge is currently underway at 20 U.S. colleges across the country. The student teams are designing, piloting and implementing social or digital initiatives with the goal of countering hate and extremism while promoting values of fairness, equity and inclusion.

Developed in partnership with EdVenture Partners (EVP), an educational organization that has 28 years of experience developing innovative industry-education partnership programs, ADL: Innovate Against Hate will challenge students to implement a big idea that will effectively confront and respond to the growing campus presence of hate groups or counter bad speech with good speech.

“One of the biggest challenges facing campus communities is the prevalence of hate speech and hate group activity on campus,” said George Selim, ADL Senior VP of Programs. “Students are well-versed in social media and have credibility with their peers. They can play a pivotal role in fighting against hate and extremism, and arming them with the tools to do so now will build a generation of change-makers.”

Each ADL: Innovate Against Hate team will conduct research into hate and extremism and submit a creative brief outlining their proposed action plan. Upon its approval and by April 6, $1,000 plus $500 in Facebook ad credits will be released to each team to activate their ideas on their college campuses and in their communities, engaging their target audience, and establishing baselines to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. At the end of the semester, the top three teams selected by ADL will be invited to present their campaigns in front of a jury panel and an audience of industry leaders on June 12 in Washington, D.C.

“Who better to challenge hate speech and develop counter-narratives than the very same audience who is hardest hit by it?” said Tony Sgro, CEO of EdVenture Partners. “We know from experience with our business model and our Peer to Peer programs that young people say it best when it comes to targeting other youth. They are more credible and believable with their peers, and they have proven to be quite effective at coming up with new solutions to push back on hate and extremism. I am thrilled to partner with ADL on this important work and can’t wait to see what our creative student teams come up with this semester.”

ADL’s Center on Extremism has recorded at least 350 incidents of white supremacist propaganda appearing on campuses since September 2016.  This academic year has seen a spike in campus-targeted propaganda, including 42 incidents this calendar year.  The top states targeted by this propaganda include Colorado and California, and in each of which, there are schools participating in this program to counter it. Last week, ADL released its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, which reported an 89 percent increase in incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment targeting Jewish students and institutions on campus last year.

            “Our team is continuing to monitor and respond to this troubling trend that victimizes college students to turn them against their fellow citizens,” noted Selim. “We are excited to have this force multiplier adding to ADL’s tireless work countering hate and extremism.”

Building on the success of the Peer to Peer (P2P): Challenging Extremism and Facebook Global Digital Challenge counter-propaganda programs that began in 2015, the ADL: Innovate Against Hate initiative is similarly designed to empower the very people affected 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.


 The participating schools with ADL: Innovate Against Hate are:

Auburn University (Alabama)

Aurora University (Illinois)

Boise State University (Idaho)

Bridgewater State University (Massachusetts)

Clark Atlanta University (Georgia)

Colorado Mesa University (Colorado)

Community College of Aurora (Colorado)

Coppin State University (Maryland)

Florida Institute of Technology

Mercyhurst University (Pennsylvania)

Merrimack College (Massachusetts)

Ohio Northern University

San Jose State University (California)

Texas Christian University

University of Arizona

University of California, Berkeley

University of Houston–Downtown (Texas)

University of Maryland

University of Massachusetts

University of Nebraska, Omaha


These institutions and participants join over 10,000 students in over 375 universities in 75 countries and 40 U.S. states who have participated in a P2P program that directly tackles extremist ideologies.