“Through the Lens of a Panther” project collects photos of community



In an effort to bring more attention to the many different perspectives and backgrounds within the UNI community, UNI Green Dot invites people to share what community looks like to them during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.


UNI’s Green Dot program is hosting a new project for the month of April, “Through the Lens of a Panther”  where staff, faculty and students can submit a photo they’ve taken on campus and include two to three sentences answering the question: “what does community look like to you?” Hannah Menken, a second year graduate student in UNI’s School Counseling Program, is the Graduate Assistant for Green Dot and is responsible for creating the “Through the Lens of a Panther” project. Menkens position at Green Dot tasks her to oversee program planning, schedule training and events, and to assist with campus outreach to ensure culture change on campus. 

“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One thing that I wanted to showcase during the month was a project called ‘Through the Lens of a Panther.’ We are taught in our field of counseling that we need to see through the ‘lens’ or the ‘perspective’ of our clients and I feel that it could be applied everywhere else. It’s always interesting to see or hear someone’s perspective on something that may seem mundane to us. This project can show us how to share our perspective with others within our community,” said Menken. 

Green Dot will be collecting submissions for the project until Sunday, April 30, and will be posting the photos on their social media. And if there are an abundance of responses, the submissions may be posted around campus to showcase what a strong community UNI has cultivated and to encourage the campus to learn more about Green Dot and its message. 

The Green Dot initiative was created and funded by Northern Iowa Student Government in their 2020-2021 session and is dedicated to lowering the rates of interpersonal gender violence. Research done by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics states that gender violence impacts as many as 1 in 5 women, 1 in 14 men, and 1 in 4 transgender students on college campuses each year. Green Dot’s goal is focused on bystander intervention.  It uses a metaphor of Green Dots, which represent an action or choice that promotes safety and an intolerance for violence, and Red Dots which represent an act of power-based interpersonal violence, with the intention that Green Dots will outnumber the Red Dots. 

This month, the “Through the Lens of a Panther” project isn;t all Green Dot will be working on: “during the month of April, Green Dot is partnering with organizations across campus and within the community to promote sexual assault awareness, support surivors, and encourage others to get involved. This wouldn’t be able to happen if I didn’t get help from our other Graduate Assistant from OCEM, Isabella Johnson. She has helped create all of these great events,” Menken said. Upcoming activities include yoga, a Panther Pantry donation event, pet therapy event with Pet Pals, What Were You Wearing? Exhibit, Green Dot scavenger hunt, and many others that are available on their website, equity.uni.edu, by clicking on the “Prevention and Education” tab, then clicking the”Sexual Assault Assault Awareness Month 2023” for a full list of activities. For more information about Green Dot, visit https://equity.uni.edu/green-dot to view upcoming training sessions, learn facts and statistics, and learn what you can do to help promote a safe community here at UNI.