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University students, faculty undergo Green Dot training

Training emphasizes active bystander intervention

During Winter Break, 150 University students and faculty participated in a four-day Green Dot program which aims to decrease violence on school campuses and within communities. The program’s University incarnation placed particular emphasis on sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner violence.

The initial stage of the Green Dot program focuses on improving bystander intervention.

Nicole Thomas, prevention coordinator for the Office of the Dean of Students, said those trained during the break will help further expand the program at the University.

“All of those people [trained in the program] are serving on a subcommittee for [Green Dot] implementation,” Thomas said. “Everyone who went through the four days is either helping with event planning, bystander intervention training or research and assessment.”

Thomas said trainees will serve on seven different committees to expand the scope of Green Dot beyond bystander intervention.

“[Green Dot] has other components like community mobilization, relationship building, social marketing and events,” Thomas said. “The goal is that a student is touched by the message of being an active bystander multiple times during their college career. The message of [the Green Dot program] is that you can choose to do a proactive or a reactive behavior that stops violence if you see something happening.”

Third-year College student Alex Pinkleton said the program uses red dots and green dots to symbolize where on Grounds community members are most at risk of sexual assault. Red dots represent harmful or dangerous situations, while green dots represent locations where Green Dot has taken took place.

“Sexual assault isn’t a tumor, but rather a bunch of red dots on a map of the campus,” Pinkleton said. “And then, there are a lot of green dots that counteract these red dots, and they’ll prevent [red dots] from occurring in the future.”

Third-year College student Grace Finley said students who went through the Green Dot training are planning to launch of the Green Dot program at the University alongside a number of faculty members.

“We have officially not only received the bystander training, but also received certification to give bystander training,” Finley said. “The students are now all involved in committees with the faculty. Once the Green Dot program is launched, [other] students will be able to actually be trained in how to be an active bystander.”

Thomas said the program’s launch is planned for late March. Each training session will have a capacity of around 35 people, she said.

“[The training is] six hours long and really interactive,” Thomas said. “[Any] more people than that would make it really chaotic, so before the launch we’re going to make sure we’re practicing our content and training specific groups of students.”

Thomas said the newly trained group will train students from many different organizations across Grounds with the ultimate aim of reaching a diverse cross-section of the community.

“If before the launch we only train one or two groups, then people across Grounds aren’t going to know what we’re talking about,” Thomas said. “But if we’re able to train student leaders and students across Grounds, then the word will get out a little quicker.”

Dillon Kuhn, assistant director for employer relations in the Office of University Career Services, was trained through Green Dot and will serve on the program’s relationship building team.

“The idea is to really look at the University as a whole,” Kuhn said. “[We aim to] figure out how to best seek out support across the University and figure out what students, what staff and what faculty we need to have conversations with.”

Kuhn said Green Dot’s larger goal is engage the entire community in the fight against sexual assault.

“The idea is that [advocating against sexual assault] doesn’t take a lot,” Kuhn said. “There’s not necessarily large growth required. Really, it’s just about educating everyone here that we can all be a part of the solution, and restoring the idea of looking out for each other.”

Pinkleton said the Green Dot program trains bystanders not only to understand what to do in a potentially dangerous situation, but also on how to personally determine how comfortable one is with taking action in such as situation.

“It’s really important for everyone to think for, of themselves, ‘What would you actually do?’ Pinkleton said. “A lot of times people will nod their heads, and say, ‘Yeah, I should stop that scenario,’ but then they haven’t thought it through completely to know exactly what to do.”