Putting more Green Dots on Grounds

Week of events encourages students to be active bystanders

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During the last week of January, students tabled across Grounds to spread awareness of Green Dot. 

Courtesy Not On Our Grounds

Through the final week of January, Green Dot spread awareness about its organization and its mission to reduce violence pertaining to sexual assault, stalking and dating. Tabling across Grounds at locations like Newcomb Dining Hall and Observatory Hill Dining Room, Green Dot volunteers encouraged University students to get involved in the Green Dot movement.

Though Green Dot is a year-round program, Green Dot Week is designed to remind students of its strong presence on Grounds and everyone’s role in creating a safer, more respectful community.

Fourth-year College student Jasmine Burton, a member of Green Dot’s Executive Marketing Committee, said handing out Green Dot buttons and coasters encourages students to learn more about the organization.

“Green Dot Week is important because it’s a week dedicated to you,” Burton said. “There’s beauty in doing [events] consecutively because it’s on people’s minds throughout that week and we get more people involved.”

Green Dot regularly uses different types of social media and presents at Fall Orientation to spread its message, but Green Dot Week facilitates an in-person volunteer-to-student interaction that is unique from other Green Dot campaign events.

Lukas Pietrzak, a second-year College student and member of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team — an organization that partners with Green Dot — said Green Dot Week emphasizes the need for student leadership in making its message heard.

“We get a lot of data that tells us that these situations don’t discriminate by your gender, or the year you are at the University, or whatever it is,” Pietrzak said. “We’re all on Grounds, we’re walking to the Corner and we all take spring break. A big conversation we have at ADAPT is ... realizing that all 20,000 students at U.Va. can be victims but can also prevent people from becoming victims, and that’s our responsibility.”

Green Dot came to the University during a tumultuous 2014-15 school year, which prompted more conversation about how to combat violence and sexual assault, and has made several large presentations at Fall Orientation.

Third-year College student Maeve Curtis began working with Green Dot since it came to the University and now works with the University’s prevention coordinator to prepare and adapt content for Green Dot presentations on Grounds.

“My first year on Grounds was 2014-15,” Curtis said. “In my fall semester, I felt myself at a little bit of a loss in figuring out what I wanted to do, and Green Dot seemed like a wonderful way to get involved and help create and foster the type of community that I think we all want to be a part of.”

Students who work with Green Dot admire its ability to connect with students by uniquely combining both proactive and reactive components in its content.

“I love the Green Dot philosophy because it sort of changes the framework when we talk about prevention,” Curtis said. “Green Dot’s core philosophy is just asking to step up, to do something, to say something, to, you know, make a two-second choice … to send a message that here at U.Va., violence isn’t tolerated.”

Going forward, Green Dot looks to expand by creating partnerships with more student groups on Grounds.

“Moving forward, we want to make sure we’re targeting students we’re not reaching and make sure we make a point to build partnerships with all groups on grounds,” said Victoria Mauer, College graduate student and Green Dot Violence Prevention team intern.

Curtis said there are numerous ways to integrate the Green Dot philosophy into the community on Grounds and hopes to continue to explore these partnerships.

“What I have seen over the past three years, is that ... it has become a part of the U.Va. rhetoric,” Curtis said. “We say ‘Grounds, first year, second year’ and the way that people also say ‘green and red dot’ situations speaks to the way that they make sure that everyone is doing their part to make this community to as safe and respectful as it possibly can be. While there’s so much work to do, we really have come such a long way in terms of being established on Grounds.”

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