Common Grounds?

Common Grounds? is the project of five UVA Center for Politics interns and is the culmination of 9 months of work. The interns bring together the student leaders from a wide spectrum of political ideologies. The goal was never to have students compromise on their political beliefs, but to see if they would be willing to talk about those beliefs in an effort to understand each other.


Common Grounds? is a 2021 documentary produced by student interns at the University of Virginia Center for Politics that examines the political climate at UVA and challenges students to find common ground. In the film, student heads of various political clubs are brought into a group conversation to discuss different, relevant prompts. The students are then challenged to paint a message together on an iconic local landmark, Beta Bridge. 

One way the documentary will live on is through the Common Grounds Campus Challenge, run by the Center for Politics, which will challenge students in high schools and colleges across the country to participate in a national competition. The format is as follows:

  1. Beginning now through March 31st, 2022 students can sign up into teams of no more than 8 members. These teams must have students that represent a wide range of political beliefs, with a careful balance between right-leaning students and left-leaning students (for example: if a team has 8 students, the team could have 3 liberals, 2 centrists, and 3 conservatives; or 4 liberals and 4 conservatives, etc…)

  2. Teams will then watch the Common Grounds? documentary together, to help set the stage for what they will be doing together.

  3. It’s time for a group discussion. The Center will send each team a list of prompts for discussion.

  4. A creative brainstorming meeting will be held. This is a meeting where the same group of students will have to brainstorm and design a creative community art project together. It’s important that the project can carry some kind of relevance to the context of the community students find themselves in. It can be a mural, a play/performance/film project, or any other creative expression. These projects will be due by April 15, 2022.

  5. Share your project with us by tweeting @Center4Politics, using #HASHITOUT and by sending an email with pictures and a written description of your project. The projects will be assessed on their creativity, craftsmanship, and contextual relevance. 

  6. We will announce the winner on April 30, 2022. There will be $1000 cash prize for the 1st place winner.

If you have any questions or are interested in signing up, please contact for more information. The deadline to register is March 31st, 2022.

For the university portion of this challenge we are partnering with Unify America.