ASU Project Humanities Announced as Recipient of Fund for Positive Engagement Award

Arizona State University is one of 40 institutions to receive funding from Campus Compact to bridge divides on campuses and in communities.

TEMPE – Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced 40 college and university recipients of grants to bring people together across lines of difference from its Fund for Positive Engagement, including Arizona State University.

The Fund for Positive Engagement is a direct response by Campus Compact to the divisive and destructive climate in the United States that took shape during the 2016 campaign and has continued in its aftermath. The purpose of the Fund is to catalyze experiments in bridging divisions among people and groups in communities across the country.

According to ASU Project Humanities Founding Director, Dr. Neal A. Lester, “With this funding from Campus Compact, we can launch a new community engagement series that focuses on place and identity, ‘Aridity and the Desert.’ Such a dinner and dialogue series builds upon the many strong connections the award-winning Project Humanities initiative has with various communities inside and beyond ASU.” Beginning this fall 2017 and through spring 2018, “Project Humanities will engage diverse individuals and communities in talking, listening and connecting to build bridges that promote civil dialogue and engagement and that demonstrate the power of our shared humanity,” Lester added.

“We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to the challenges they are seeing,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people with differing political views. Immigrant and Muslim students are afraid to express their views. Many community members see universities as completely separate universes with different values. We invited our members to propose steps to break through those divides, and we are excited by the proposals that came back.”

The selection process was highly competitive as Campus Compact received nearly 300 submissions from institutions across the country. Two thirds of the reviewers were students in Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellows program. Proposals were judged based on the strength of the idea, its practicality, and the degree to which it will be possible to measure success, among other criteria.

For more information and full list of recipients, visit