Green Dot gender violence prevention program leaves its mark on campus

Two members of NISG participate in activities at the Green Dot launch in September. Since its launch, over 100 students and over 132 staff and faculty members have been through training with the program.

TREVOR MEYERS , Photographer

Last September, the Green Dot gender violence prevention program had a successful launch. At their main kickoff event during Green Dot Week here at the university, they had over 150 people attend. Green Dot is a program that has been in the works for several semesters and was finally implemented in the fall of last semester. Green Dot is a Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) sponsored program whose purpose is to work on bystander intervention that is focused on gender violence prevention. The overall goal of the program is to then decrease the likelihood of power-based violence on this university’s campus, such as sexual assault, along with how to identify lesser thought of power-based violence such as stalking or dating/domestic violence. The signs are not always obvious, which is something Green Dot training is trying to change.

Within the Green Dot program there is a common metaphor that uses the example of green dots and red dots. The green dots represent a specific action or choice that promotes safety and communicates to others through that choice that violence will not be tolerated on this campus. An example of a green dot could be something as simple as taking a friend out of a high-risk situation or diffusing a situation between two friends. Red dots signify acts of power-based interpersonal violence. 

Through the Green Dot program, one talks and interacts with other individuals where you can help learn strategies on how to help individuals who could be in a dangerous situation, such as calling somebody out for their inappropriate behavior or words to an individual. Most of the time, if somebody is held accountable for certain words that they say it can easily help prevent words or thoughts from becoming actions. Having the Green Dot program on this campus helps teach students and faculty ways to create green dots so that they can outnumber the red dots, and in that way keep people who live, work and learn at the university safe. 

Hannah Menken, the Green Dot graduate assistant at UNI, gave details of how the program is going and not just what their goals are for this amazing program. On campus, there are 23 trained Green Dot facilitators throughout the university who are in charge of facilitating each training that the program does. These facilitators are made up from faculty and various staff members here at UNI. As Hannah said, “It’s a great group of people that care about our campus and the safety of our students.” 

Since the launch of the program, there have been over 132 staff and faculty members who have been trained outside of the facilitators here at UNI. There have also been over 100 students who have been trained in the semester since its launch.

The Green Dot team has many exciting plans and ambitions for this coming spring semester here at the University of Northern Iowa. They have many trainings set up for students to participate in throughout the semester so they can accommodate many busy schedules that the students have. Training is available to any staff, faculty and students who wish to be a part of the program. Training is roughly 90 minutes long and you learn a great deal of skills on how to act and how to use various techniques in different real-life situations. The Green Dot program also does more private training for student organizations or departments if they request a private training session. The Green Dot staff are also hoping to have one large event sometime during the semester so everyone should keep an eye out on the Green Dot’s social media pages to see what they have in store, along with keeping up with when they have more training sessions available.

Green Dot is a very important program that many students have specifically requested in the past, and the faculty are so excited that they are now able to do these training sessions. It is important to raise awareness of the Green Dot program in order to create a campus culture of safety and respect. As the Green Dot motto goes, “No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.” If you have any further questions about the Green Dot program, you can visit their website at greendot.uni.edu which will have lots of information and registration links. You can also request private training by emailing them at [email protected]