Albion College launched its Green Dot bystander intervention program to all of Albion College, attracting 175 staff, faculty and students. Over 30 campus volunteers officially trained in the Green Dot program facilitated conversations about the program with all attendees in a 20-minute guided tour through booths.
The Green Dot program trains attendees in bystander intervention to personal power-based actions of violence by teaching tactics to intervene. The program is meant to allow individuals to find the tactics that work best for the them and gives them practice in using those tactics. This program trains individuals so that they are ready to act.
“I would definitely call the launch a success!” wrote Christopher Barry, director for risk prevention and intervention under Student Affairs at Albion College, over email. “We had around 10 percent of the campus community at the event, which says a lot about how many people care about this issue or were interested enough to come and learn more.”
The Green Dot program was established in 2006 at the University of Kentucky and has since been implemented in the branches of the military, colleges and high schools. In 2016, the Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program, led by former First Lady Sue Snyer, was established in partnership with the Michigan State Police. The purpose of the grant program was to fund college and university efforts to reduce sexual assault.
In February 2018, Albion College received a $25,3000 grant from the program to implement the Green Dot on its campus.
Upon entering Upper Baldwin, each attendee grabbed a passport card and walked through a series of five tables introducing the concepts behind the Green Dot program.
Some stations explained what a red dot and a green dot were — those that commit power-based violence and those that intervene. Others provided barrier examples and helpful action examples in preventing personal power-based violence. The final station allowed each attendee to apply what had been learned and create a Green Dot motto for themselves.
“I hope that students took away a new skill or a new way of thinking about their role in preventing violence,” wrote Berry.
There are several traditional programs that Albion College could have chosen as their primary risk prevention and intervention program; however these other programs focused more on education about risk reduction. Those forms of prevention use the examples of staying safe by never leaving a drink unattended or always having a friend with you.
While more traditional programs would put the responsibility solely on the potential victims to look out for their own safety, the Green Dot program allows more people to become responsible. This program allows everyone the option of being a bystander rather than just a victim or perpetrator.
“Bystander intervention imagines a third person: everyone else who may be in a position to help,” wrote Berry. “[Albion College] knew that bystander intervention was where we needed to go, but we chose the Green Dot program because, in addition to teaching bystander skills, it focuses on the power of cultural change.”
Albion College is taking the furthest step to not just train individuals but prepare them for real life events through practice. There will be a few action events throughout the year to allow the trained students to practice their learned skills and remind them of the type of situations they should intervene in.
There will be future overview sessions for all first-year students, along with ongoing five-hour training sessions each semester for all students and employees.
“We hope that students use the bystander skills to intervene to prevent harm or to stop it from escalating, but we also hope to change the larger campus culture into one in which violence is not tolerated,” wrote Berry. “We will work to equip student leaders to drive the culture change.”
The launch event resulted in 21 college employees signing up for an overview session and 76 students planning on attending five-hour bystander intervention training.
Employee sessions are scheduled for Thursday, March 11, starting at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The date for student training are currently being rescheduled to see which time fits best for the majority.
For more information, contact Berry at email@example.com.
The author of this piece received Green Dot training through Albion College’s program.