UNT hosts first Green Dot bystander intervention training for students

UNT hosts first Green Dot bystander intervention training for students

UNT hosts first Green Dot bystander intervention training for students
November 08
16:26 2017

UNT held its first Green Dot bystander intervention training for undergraduate students Friday, training seven organization leaders and members on how to help reduce power-based personal violence.

The university began the process of bringing the national Green Dot program to campus in January 2016. Initially, 35 faculty and staff went through four days of training, which equipped participants to lead student training in the future.

“I’d love to see students who feel comfortable intervening if they see power-based personal violence,” UNT Survivor Advocate Renee McNamara said. “We want to build a culture on our campus where violence isn’t tolerated.”

McNamara and Eli Cumpton, the coordinator for the Office of Spiritual Life, led Friday’s training, which took place from 8 a.m. to noon in the Greek Life Center.

The training consists of four modules, which are presented in slides, examples and personal stories, incorporating online games and physical activities as well.

The modules focus on introducing the bystander and their power to stop violence, defining problems as red dot behaviors. They explain how reactive green dots stop violent situations and examine personal barriers to intervening, as well as identifying how proactive green dots foster a culture of not allowing violence.

The bystander intervention program envisions red dots being replaced by reactive green dots when a violent action is stopped, and empty spaces being taken by green dots when proactive green dots foster a culture of nonviolence. These empty spaces are areas that have not yet been occupied by red dots.

Specific focuses on red dot behaviors included sexual assault, stalking and dating or domestic violence.

Students were encouraged to come up with their own strategies for how to act in potential scenarios, focusing on the “3 Ds” of reactive green dot behavior: direct, delegate, distract.

The range of alternatives is meant to give students the best chance of finding an option they are comfortable with taking as the expectation of the program is “no one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.”

Students and training leaders discussed strategies as general as confronting the person doing harm to strategies as specific as spilling one’s drink on someone as to distract or extricate them from a situation.

One of the student leaders in attendance was Student Government Association President Barrett Cole.

“This was really beneficial to me to know what I could do and to know there’s other people here who would attempt to make a red dot into a green dot,” Cole said. “This is just the beginning of education on campus.”

Other participants had specific ideas for more education at UNT. Broadcast journalism senior Briana Castanon believes the university should implement a mandatory, in-person course on personal violence for incoming students.

“I think during first flight week a lot of people don’t pay attention to the online course,” Castanon said. “It would be beneficial for everyone to take a class on how to be a good human being.”

Texas A&M University is one Texas’ public university using the Green Dot program. A 2014 study compared a campus with Green Dot to two without and found a significant difference in rates of violence, while a 2011 study showed significantly more bystander behaviors in Green Dot-exposed students.

In the future, the university will host shorter one-hour talks to give students an overview of Green Dot. McNamara said she hopes to be able to host the training on a bi-weekly basis.

Students can email McNamara at survivoradvocate@unt.edu to learn more about participating in an upcoming training.

Featured Image: UNT students participate in the Green Dot seminar Nov. 3 at the Greek Life Center. Green Dot is a national program that focuses on the importance of bystander intervention in potentially violent situations. Sara Carpenter

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Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder is the Senior News Writer for the North Texas Daily.

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