Across the Aisle is about learning to disagree while remaining friends, colleagues, classmates, and fellow citizens. At our events, small groups of participants with different views have curated discussions about pre-selected, hot button topics of social and political significance. Across the Aisle is not about debate or persuasion. It is an opportunity to learn--to learn how someone else thinks and to learn how to respond with civility, charity, empathy, and grace. 

Social, political, and technological forces have made it far too easy to retreat to ideological silos. There, mistrust and misunderstanding breed. We caricature and “other” the people we rarely encounter and never engage. Across the Aisle makes room for mutual understanding among different perspectives and opinions. Through thoughtful discourse and a shared meal, participants create a community that values the strength found in our differences.


Are you interested in starting Across the Aisle at your school? Resources, prompts, and marketing materials can be found below for your use. For more information or help in getting set up, contact Professor Mihailis Diamantis.


The three most essential components of Across the Aisle are the topics, the one-pagers, and the surveys.  

Our most successful topics have had three features: 

  1. They are pressing current concerns
  2. They are difficult to talk about 
  3. There are sizable groups on either side.  

At the start of each event, we hand out one-pagers that provide background to three possible discussion prompts. We circulate the surveys to all registrants in the week before the event. They serve two purposes. First, they help us collect anonymous free-form responses which we can include in the one-pagers.  Second, they help people identify as being more on one side or the other of the topic, which helps to form discussion groups with diverse opinions. Below is a list of topics we have covered at Iowa. Each links to the relevant one-pagers and survey.  Please be advised that these documents are prepared by non-experts on a best-efforts basis. Imperfect vocabulary, factual errors, or overlooked data could serve as points of discussion in your own events.

This welcome script welcomes participants to the event and explains how to have a successful Across the Aisle experience.

Our events last one hour, with time allocated according to this schedule.

Comfortably preparing an Across the Aisle event takes about a month. This timeline may help with your own planning.

Across the Aisle is a student-run, faculty-supervised organization. Our bylaws establish our mission and basic operating principles.

Featured Articles

Across the Aisle program in action

New program encourages civil discourse around difficult topics

Iowa Law
prof mihailis diamntis daily iowan article

UI College of Law DEI committee launches program to teach civil discourse

Daily Iowan
Mouths talking artistic representing the Across the Aisle program.

Iowa Law Students Find Common Ground on Divisive Issues

Iowa Magazine

Student Organizers

Current Student organizers
Law student Lawrence Tuttle headshot
Law student Anna Wolle headshot.
Iowa Law student Sarah Wright headshot
Law student Madison Rush headshot

Lawrence Tuttle is a 3L. After graduation, he hopes to provide legal counsel to startups and small businesses. 

He enjoys problem solving and investigating all sides of an issue—be it legal, business, political, societal, etc. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and son, birdwatching, playing sports, and cooking Asian food.

Anna Wolle is a 3L and third generation Iowa law student. Upon graduating and passing the Bar, she plans to practice family law at Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, P.C., in Dubuque, Iowa. 

Outside of school, Anna enjoys knitting, listening to R&B, rap, and classical music, and spending time with her partner and family.

Sarah Wright is currently a 2L at the University of Iowa Boyd College of Law. Born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, she attended Hillsdale College where she studied philosophy and graduated magna cum laude with honors. 

She is interested in international law, immigration, and human rights. She hopes to clerk after graduation and eventually work for the International Criminal Court. 

In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, gardening, and horseback riding.

Madison Rush is currently a 2L at Iowa Law. Madison is from Iowa and will spend a summer with the Delaware Attorney General's Office in the Consumer Protection Division. Upon graduation she hopes to pursue antitrust or consumer protection work with the DOJ or FTC. 

Outside of law school she enjoys baking, watching shows, and hiking.