Depolarizing America: Bridging Divides on Campus

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With American democracy in crisis, can college students save the day?

There is concern that American democracy is in crisis. For college students it can be frightening to consider the prospects for a better tomorrow. But addressing the problems in our political system will require the next generation to be more engaged and less polarized.

BridgeUSA was formed by college students to tackle the crisis head-on, with campus-based chapters at colleges around the country. This non-profit group hosts discussions and events, champions ideological diversity, teaches constructive engagement and aims to promote a solution-oriented political culture. BridgeUSA’s chief goal is to develop a new generation of political leaders who value empathy and the common good.

Our podcast guests are Manu Meel, a recent graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Chief Executive Officer of BridgeUSA, and Jessica Carpenter, a senior at Arizona State University, who runs brand management and communications at BridgeUSA.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep 26 – Depolarizing America: Bridging Divides on Campus

Jessica Carpenter

Jessica Carpenter is the Marketing Director at BridgeUSA. She is a senior at Arizona State University studying journalism and political science. She is also a member of the BridgeUSA chapter where she works on social media and event planning. Growing up in a one-way political leaning household, Jessica found Bridge as an answer to understanding both sides of the political spectrum. She is passionate about finding solutions and understanding what motivates people to action.

Manu Meel

Manu Meel is passionate about empowering and elevating the impact of young people. Currently, Manu serves as the CEO of BridgeUSA, a national organization that is investing in the future of democracy. Through his work, Manu has contributed to several news outlets, advanced pro-democracy efforts nationally, and led the policy operation for a Baltimore mayoral candidate. In the past, Manu worked as an associate at the venture capital firm Amplo and at the Department of State as a political analyst in counterterrorism. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other media platforms.


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