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May 10, 2016 – Aurora, CO – Students from the Community College of Aurora (CCA) won first place in a Facebook and federal government-sponsored Peer2Peer program for ThankYouAmerica! campaign.
Seventeen students created a non-profit organization, ThankYouAmerica! and conducted a two-week social media and outreach campaign to combat extremist rhetoric against immigrant populations in their community. The students were awarded first place in the state of Colorado against the U.S. Air Force Academy (second place) and the University of Colorado-Boulder (third place). Only three community colleges across the country were invited to participate in the program.
During the campaign run, more than 24,000 people were reached on Facebook, the campaign video received more than 1,000 views, and more than 20 countries engaged in the campaign. Under the direction of Dr. Bobby Pace, Chair of the Social Sciences Department, the campaign has broader implications to promote cultural engagement and promote unity and inclusion on a global scale.
“This is an extremely notable achievement for our students,” said Dr. Bobby Pace, Chair of the Social Sciences Department at CCA. “Our students can compete with the best of the best.”
Dr. Pace noted that while at least 16 hate groups are located in the state, CCA and the City of Aurora are determined to provide a welcoming and inclusive space for its immigrant populations. CCA’s ThankYouAmerica! campaign included a website, Twitter (@ThankYouAmerico), Facebook page, and YouTube channel.
CCA students were chosen from among 60 colleges across the country competing as part of President Obama’s Peer2Peer Program to combat violent extremism.