Another type of green on campus

Every year during Orientation, the Perspectives component puts on a program which promotes rape and violence awareness among the freshman class.   In years past, the program has taken the form of a skit entitled “When Hello Gets Out of Hand” and has been used as the chief venue for discussions about rape and sexual violence on campus. This year, however, the class of 2014 was the first class to go through the Green Dot program.

So what is Green Dot and why is Puget Sound using this program now? It was designed as an “approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence across all levels of the socio-ecological model.” It specifically targets all community members to be potential bystanders and “seeks to engage them, through awareness, education and skills-practice, in proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm.” Ultimately, the goal is to reduce levels of power-based violence in one particular location like a university campus.

To help you understand the program a little better, picture a map of Puget Sound’s campus. Now, imagine there is a red dot on the map which represents one act of violence.   The red dots continue multiplying until they are all over the campus map. These acts of violence will keep occurring unless someone on campus steps up to prevent the red dots from happening. Therefore, “any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates utter intolerance for rape, partner violence and stalking” is a green dot. The mission of the Green Dot program is to empower students to be the “green dot” and try to prevent a “red dot” occurrence on campus whenever they see one.

Marta Palmquist-Cady, director of Student Activities, explained why she is so confident and excited about the Green Dot program: “The reason that I am passionate about bringing Green Dot to the Puget Sound community is because Green Dot is about prevention and I really believe that we can reduce the number of people committing these violent acts because it is only a few people that commit them.  We, the good people, outnumber the bad people that commit these acts almost 40 to 1!  I just want us all to feel confident in doing our part to make us all safer.”

Additionally, this program is championed by students like Lisa Griswold, a senior and Perspectives leader on campus. Griswold said the program is “very personal because the presenters of the program are staff and students on campus, which makes it very applicable to the Puget Sound community. Also, the fact that the University of Kentucky has seen a significant reduction in violence since its initiation is really positive. It shows that it has worked somewhere else, which gives me confidence that it will work here.”