When you see green this March, the Kalamazoo College Council of Student Representatives (KCCSR) hopes you’ll think of something other than St. Patrick’s Day.
Representatives instead want you to think of Green Dot, a comprehensive safety plan funded through the State of Michigan Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program, which depends on the power of bystanders to help achieve community safety. Green Dot sees everyone at K as a potential witness to power-based personal violence, and seeks to engage students, faculty and staff in prevention training.
At K, Green Dot usually conducts in-person training for students, faculty and staff. But with many still learning or working virtually, Green Dot must rely on KCCSR and other organizations to spread awareness.
“I want to get everyone on campus to know what Green Dot is exactly,” KCCSR representative Jamison Brown said. “If you go around campus and ask people what it is, most have a broad understanding that it’s about preventing sexual assault, but there’s way more to it.”
Imagine a red dot on a map is a person’s choice to harm someone else with their words or actions. When you have enough red dots, they create a tolerance for power-based personal violence. Green dots on that map, however, would represent small actions or interventions that stop or prevent a red dot. Even when they’re small, green dots draw power from one another, and together, they change communities. One of those communities is Kalamazoo College, as bystanders are trained in how to direct, delegate and distract safely through words and actions to intervene when they witness power-based personal violence.
To be direct means to talk directly to the perpetrator or would-be victim, calling out concerning behaviors. It might be appropriate to tell the perpetrator to stop or ask the victim if they need help. To delegate means to ask for someone else’s help. A bystander could intervene by calling the police or Campus Safety. They could also ask others to help in preventing the violence. To distract means to interrupt the attempted act of violence by diverting the perpetrator’s attention away from the would-be victim.
“We want to create a space where everyone feels like they don’t have to worry about sexual violence that could take away from their education,” KCCSR representative Sela Damer-Daigle said. “I think a lot of students at K choose it because of the atmosphere, and Green Dot adds to that safe atmosphere. Students can be themselves without having to worry as much about power-based violence.”
To help create such a space, KCCSR is conducting outreach through tabling at the Hicks Student Center in March, a month normally associated with green, to spread the awareness it wants to see. Engaging students new to K is especially important, so those students can continue Green Dot traditions going forward and seek training when it’s again available.
Watch for dates to be announced soon through email and campus calendars.
“KCCSR places a lot of importance on Green Dot because it has to do a lot with keeping our campus community safe and looking out for each other,” KCCSR representative Caitlyn Cooper said. “That’s a big goal of KCCSR: to provide a better environment for students. It’s important to me that I know how to be a bystander for other people and to know some signs that can help me protect myself.”