‘Green Dot’ trains students for bystander intervention

The Green Dot Bystander training held on campus last week was informative, heavy, and kept each participant engaged in active dialogue, addressing what violence means, looks like and challenging social norms to encourage bystanders to intervene.

“Empowering community members to take action is a good thing overall. My hesitation with the training is that some people have a stronger voices within certain communities. Therefore, they should utilize their higher positions to advocate for victims of violence,” Maria Panozo, a student who has taken green dot training stated.

The training, led by Resident Director Paige LaPoint and Student Activities Coordinator Lisa Latronica, took place in Murie 103/105 on Feb. 18. Green Dot was founded by Dr. Dorothy J. Edwards in 2010 and was originally intended for college campuses to empower bystanders to step in when an act of violence is taking place. There are now curriculum being developed and geared towards middle and high school settings and communities. The training is also being developed to be applied to K-3 grades.

The training for college students is broken up into four sections: the opening speech, bystander training, social marketing, and mobilizing events.

The opening speech provides an overview of defining a “green dot.” The bystander training is further divided into four modules labeled: introduction to green dot, recognizing red dots, identifying self-defining moments and overcoming obstacles; this defines the difference between proactive and reactive green dots.

Among the attendees in the room, there were Pub employees, ASUAF representatives, Wood Center and Resource Advocacy Staff and a member of the Veterans Resource Office.

“While the training is a step in the right direction, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone is in a position to speak out without facing repercussions,” Panozo said. “Those who are in administrative positions, for example, should assume responsibility in advocacy to lend platforms to those without, such as students. The training could be improved by reiterating that there are legal resources available for survivors.”

Social marketing utilizes increasing basic awareness and mainstream social acceptance of the core language and principles of Green Dot. The last section of the training: mobilizing events/action is used to establish proactive behaviors and readjust campus norms by stating that violence will not be tolerated and everyone has a role to play in campus safety.

Trainees shared a mutual concern with fearing for their own safety when instances of violence are taking place. The training makes it its business to acknowledge personal barriers that may prevent bystander action. It instead teaches every trainee what their options are as a bystander when an act of violence is taking place if they do decide to get involved.

Approximately 300 universities and colleges have implemented Green Dot. Among these institutions are Harvard University, Texas A&M, and University of California Berkeley.

“It was nice to see that there were different tactics within the training to utilize in diffusing a violent situation. The emphasis on the options available validates safety concerns that the majority of people have in confronting these situations. I aligned myself with the distract and delegate options for my personal safety,” said Bess Jacobson, an alumni and former resident assistant.

Colleges across the nation are implementing Green Dot as a prevention training to combat high rates of sexual assault. However, they aren’t alone. Green Dot has also been utilized within the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, Oregon Tradeswomen, Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women Campus program, and has also made its way into the hospitality industry to develop a front-line prevention force at restaurants, bars, and other similar venues.

“Green Dot is mandatory for RAs which is important because it gives you a space to learn how to step in and serve students to the best of your ability,” Jacobson continued. “Following Green Dot, it felt as if there was inconsistent marketing for the training beyond word of mouth. It was difficult to communicate the necessity for the training to students because of the lack of advertising from the university.”

Green Dot Bystander training is held periodically by various certified professionals and offices on campus. You may attend a training or request a specific date by utilizing the following website: https://greendot.alaska.edu/ For up to date information, and training schedules visit UAF Green Dot on Facebook.

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