UND takes strong stance against community violence with new program that encourages culture shift


Amy Halvorson

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UND takes strong stance against community violence with new program that encourages culture shift

One in five college women and one in 16 college men will experience completed or attempted sexual assault during their college career.

Up to one in three dating relationships will experience some sort of abuse.

One in four women and one in 10 men will experience stalking.

With these kinds of national statistics, heading off to college can seem quite risky. However, the University of North Dakota has launched the Green Dot program to combat the real-life acts that boost those statistics. The program is designed to reduce incidents of power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence.

The goal of the program is to motivate community members, including University staff, faculty and students, to play an active role in creating a culture shift, and thus creating new norms that shun violence. The two norms this program tries to create are supported by UND values: (1) Violence isn’t tolerated at UND. (2) Everyone is expected to play a role in violence prevention and safety.

“Green Dot is a great program for UND because it allows us to all come together and play a role in preventing violence,” said Amber Flynn, UND coordinator of Sexual Respect & Violence Prevention.

The Green Dot program helps provide a better understanding of the problems that have plagued college campuses nationally, and creates solutions to try to eliminate them.

The idea behind the title of the program is that, metaphorically, every time there is a crime of violence committed a red dot is placed on our campus map. With the Green Dot program, every time somebody makes an effort to end violence, a green dot will be placed. The goal is for the green dots to far outnumber any red dots and reduce the number of violent incidents on campus.

These efforts against violence can be anything from having a conversation with someone about the issue to reacting when you see a crime being committed.

“Faculty and staff can even play a role by just checking in with their students and letting them know they care,” said Flynn.

The program has boiled things down to two equally important actions ? doing reactive and proactive green dots.

A reactive green dot is assisting someone or getting help for someone that is the victim of violence.

A proactive green dot includes having resources available to others, showing PowerPoints on the topic, having conversations with others and generally creating awareness of the issue of violence.

“It only takes a small moment of time to do a green dot that would stop a red dot from happening.” Flynn said. “If everyone does something small, a culture change will come. A lot of little changes add up to a big change.”

“The program was launched at UND because we wanted to educate students, faculty and staff about the role they play on campus as bystanders to violence,” said Flynn.

Having a bystander education program also fulfills the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) federal mandate.

The Green Dot program specifically stood out to UND because it was a national, evidence-based program that had been proven to be effective. It originating at the University of Kentucky by Dorothy J. Edwards.

“And it was an added bonus that it fits in with our school colors,” Flynn said.

The Green Dot program is scheduled to be fully launched in October. But before then, there’s still some preparation work that needs to be done to make the program as successful as possible on UND’s campus.

“First we are educating faculty and staff because they’re here longer than students and play an important role in establishing campus norms,” Flynn said. “Students are currently being nominated by faculty, staff and peers to be a part of our pilot workshops this spring.”

It has been determined that juniors are the best to focus on as role models because they’re older and more experienced, yet they still have time left on campus. “But if peers nominate students that aren’t juniors, we will consider those nominations as well” said Flynn.

“When the program is launched in the fall, we hope to have an actual map displaying all of the green dots that have happened,” Flynn said.

People can either physically submit or email their green dots so they may be placed on the map.

“Green Dot provides a real solution for how to actually solve the issue of violence on our campus and in our community,” said Flynn. “No one has to do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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