Green Dot program creates a culture of care on DePauw’s campus

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Green Dot training PHOTO COURTESY OF DEPAUW
Green Dot training PHOTO COURTESY OF DEPAUW

On Sunday, September 11, the first Green Dot training of fall 2022 was organized for DePauw students. 

According to Heather Wright, associate director of Student Wellness programs, Green Dot is a bystander intervention program that aims to equip students with the tools they need in order to step in situations around sexual assault and interpersonal violence. The program initially started in 2015 when DePauw received a grant through the Department of Justice and sent staff to the Green Dot headquarters to get trained. Although the pandemic made it impossible to resume the program in 2020, Green Dot trainings have continued again since last spring.

Wright said that a full 3-hour training covers what a green dot action is, the red dots and concerning behaviors, barriers that may prevent someone from intervening, and tools to recognize those barriers as well as how to work around them. 

While the training on Sept. 11 is the only three-hour training for students planned in the fall, there will be a session organized for faculty and staff during fall break. Wright hopes that this will be an opportunity to get more trainings scheduled. 

“We can do what we call overviews, which are about an hour-long quick small training sessions,” Wright said. “We hope that faculty will invite us into their classrooms to do those and that they'll kind of get the idea from attending our training.”

Wright added that these trainings are not mandatory for anyone in the community. 

“In Green Dot, it feels that if you’re there, you want to be there,” she said. 

One of the goals of the Green Dot program is to create a culture of care. To Wright, a culture of care means looking out for each other and for oneself. One example of this is students reaching out to the CARE team concerning their friends, according to Wright. 

Frae Binder, director of Fraternity & Sorority Life and one of the Green Dot training facilitators, described the culture of care as accountability and trust.

 “When people hear accountability, they think of punishment, but I think also it can just mean checking in with someone else…We need to have an environment in which students feel safe and also have that trust in telling someone else what's going on,” she said. 

Binder added that it is important for her to consider the students’ positions and understand the vulnerability they may face before stepping in a potentially dangerous situation. She advised students to follow the “gut instinct” of ‘this could be really awkward, this could be really scary, but I'm just gonna push through and do what I want to do for myself and what I think is best for the situation.’”

According to Wright, there are not many statistics that can be collected regarding the impact of the program because not every student experiencing sexual assault or interpersonal violence chooses to report. Right now, the goal of the Green Dot team is reaching out to athletic teams and organizations on campus to present training options. They will focus on the one-hour overview as a baseline for full three-hour trainings in the future.

If an organization would like a training set up for their members, they can contact the Green Dot team at greendot@depauw.edu or Heather Wright at heatherwright@depauw.edu. Students interested in getting involved with the Green Dot program can also email Heather Wright for more information.