Greening Away Violence

Green Dot-Trained Faculty and Staff at KThis spring Kalamazoo College is beginning to turn green from Green Dot, and that “greening” will create a campus where the likelihood of dating and domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault decreases significantly because everybody does their part.

Just last week some 29 K faculty, staff and administrators completed four days of Green Dot “College Curriculum” training.

Green Dot is a violence prevention program with origins in college and university settings. It is also being implemented across the entire U.S. Air Force, on installations across all other branches of the military, and in communities and organizations in all 50 states and internationally.

The program is designed to enlist entire communities in order to spread the work and the joy that comes with it. And it works! In a five-year longitudinal study, Green Dot was shown to reduce violence perpetration by up to 50 percent in Kentucky high schools. Other studies found a 17 percent reduction in colleges, and additional research is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the effect of Green Dot in communities and additional colleges.

The 29 trainers will contribute to the planning and implementation of bystander education sessions for students (the first is set for late April) and Green Dot overview sessions for faculty, staff, administrators and students. Bystanders are trained to safely use words and actions to address or prevent “red dots.” In the program’s iconography, a red dot is any person’s choice to harm another person with words or actions. In any environment, or map, enough red dots create a norm where violence is tolerated. Green dots are small actions to intervene when a red dot is occurring or to prevent the likelihood of red dots at all. Small as they may be, Green Dot words and actions draw their power from the large numbers of people who commit to speak or do them. Together, enough Green Dots can change “worlds,” small and large.

Small acts and everyone doing their part is the key to the program’s success. Last week’s faculty and staff training included an array of work lives and “spheres of influence” that nearly covers the campus map, so the Green Dot greening of K is off to a broad and excellent start.

Early participants and Green Dot educators included (l-r)–front row (seated): Ellen Lassiter Collier, Gender Equity; Liz Smith ’73, Library, Katie Miller, Athletics (Women’s Basketball); Leslie Burke, Library; Miasha Wilson, Business Office; Kenlana Ferguson, Counseling Center, Erika Driver, Counseling Center; Laura Livingstone-McNelis ’89, Theatre Arts; Brittany Liu, Psychology; back row (standing): Jessica Ward, Registrar’s Office, Morgan Mahdavi ’14, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; Jeanne Hess, Physical Education (Volleyball); Josh Moon, Educational Technology; Narda McClendon, Center for International Programs; Andrew Grayson ’10, Admission; Elizabeth Manwell, Classics; Bryan Goyings ’04, Athletics (Women’s Soccer); Jax Gardner, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; Heather Dannison, Counseling Center; Jason Lintjer, Athletics (Men’s and Women’s Swimming); Marcie Weathers, Facilities Management; Franki Hand, Media Services; Jay Daniels ’13, Athletics (Men’s and Women’s Swimming); Dan Kibby ’90, Computer Programming; Tim Young, Security, Karen Joshua Wathel, Student Development, Heather Garcia, Center for International Programs; Melissa Emmal, Green Dot, Washington, D.C.; Sirajah Raheem, Green Dot, Atlanta, Georgia. Not pictured are Stacy Nowicki, Library, and Jim VanSweden ’73, College Communication.

Funding for Kalamazoo College’s Green Dot efforts comes from the State of Michigan Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program.