What is Mix It Up at Lunch Day?

It’s a simple call to action for all grade levels: Take a new seat in the cafeteria. By taking a risk, students can cross the lines of division in a safe, supported environment, meet new people and help build an inclusive and welcoming school community.

Learning for Justice (then Teaching Tolerance), a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, launched the Mix It Up program in 2001. Schools can organize a Mix It Up at Lunch Day any time during the school year. Registration is free, and schools that register are eligible for special contests and giveaways. 

Can Mix It Up at Lunch Day really help my school?

Research shows that Mix It Up programming works. According to a survey of Mix organizers, the program produces powerful results:

  • 97% said students' interactions were positive during Mix It Up at Lunch Day.
  • 95% said Mix It Up at Lunch Day prompted students to interact with people outside their normal social circles.
  • 92% said Mix It Up at Lunch Day increased awareness about social boundaries and divisions within school.
  • 83% said the event helped students make new friends.
  • 79% said students have heightened sensitivity toward tolerance and social justice issues as a result of Mix It Up.
  • 78% said students seem more comfortable interacting with different kinds of people as a result of Mix It Up. Source: Mix It Up Survey conducted by Quality Education Data, 2008
Students laugh and talk at the lunch table

What can I expect from students participating in Mix It Up at Lunch Day?

Student enthusiasm and participation, like with other programs, will vary. When students understand that they are being asked to join thousands of other schools in taking another seat at lunch—for just one day—they usually go along and come to appreciate the benefits almost immediately.

Who sponsors Mix It Up?

Mix It Up is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning for Justice program, which aims to reduce prejudice and improve intergroup relations in the nation’s classrooms and communities. Our programming, which includes an array of educational materials available free to educators, is made possible through the generous support of select foundations and caring individual supporters.

Can I get the packet of posters, clip art and coloring pages?

All the materials are now online for your convenience. Visit our page of printables


Find answers to more questions in the video below!

Photographs by Allen Birnbach and Nathan Mitchell

Teaching Tolerance collage of images

Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

Learn More