The Green Dot Initiative — a violence prevention program — was brought to Wittenberg’s campus by Delta Tau Delta and Phi Gamma Delta fraternities on April 20, according to junior Jon Osman, director of Risk Management for Delta Tau Delta.
The Green Dot Initiative presentation was about eliminating acts of violence and the mindsets that can perpetuate those acts.
“We wanted to open this presentation up to all of campus, because just like us, Wittenberg needs to improve its ability at being proactive to risk instead of reactive to risk, something that can only be achieved through more education on the subject,” Osman said.
While red dots represent instances of violence, green dots represent a bystander stepping in to prevent the act of violence from occurring, according to Jessica Hoelting, Wittenberg director of Student Conduct, and Lindsey Criswell, Campus Victim advocate at Project Woman.
“Green dots can add up and turn red to green,” Hoelting said. “Simple actions are what’s going to change our culture. All we are asking for is a green dot.”
Criswell and Hoelting outlined the three simple, reactive solutions as the “3 D’s:” direct — a bystander confronts the situation head on; distract — a bystander draws attention away from the situation; delegate — the bystander asks for help from a third party, such as the police or a resident advisor.
The presenters also discussed proactive situations — such as walking a friend home — that will stop a red dot of violence from even happening in the first place.
“The coolest part [of this initiative] is the fact that the material is easy to learn, meaning that the people who attended Wednesday will know how to educate others as well,” Osman said. “Expect more of this program to affect this campus as more people hear about the first steps that were taken last Wednesday to eradicate violence at Wittenberg.”
The presentation began by Hoelting and Criswell asking audience members to visualize a loved one being hurt, first without a bystander intervening, and second, with a bystander preventing the act of violence.
While in the first visualization activity, when a bystander did not intervene, audience members said that they felt “afraid” or “helpless,” in the second visualization activity ,when a bystander intervened, audience members said they felt “relieved” or “grateful.”
After the exercise, Hoelting said that the activity was not just for the purpose of visualization, but rather to show the reality of what is happening on campus.
“There has to be a culture change. It seems like it is too big, but all it takes are an accumulation of little changes that lead to big changes,” Criswell said.
Hoelting and Criswell then presented the audience with real-life scenarios, and audience members had to choose which route of action they would take — direct, distract or delegate — by moving to that perspective sign, each posted on a different wall in the room.
“I really enjoyed the seminar,” freshman Rachel Porrello said. “I think being able to put ourselves in situations and make decisions about what we would do helped everyone to have a vision of what their own green dot could be.”
Overall, about 80 people attended the presentation, mostly members of Delta Tau Delta and Phi Gamma Delta.