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Photo illustration of an Ohio Green Dot sticker stuck on a wall, Dec. 6, 2023.

The Green Dot strategy encourages, educates students

The Green Dot Strategy focuses on the improvement of campus violence by encouraging students to be better bystanders and change social norms. The strategy was created by Alteristic, a “social accelerator that tackles societal issues at local, national, and global levels.” The organization aims to create safe and respectful environments for students to thrive. 

According to Ohio University, a green dot can be defined as “any choice, behavior, or action that promotes safety for everyone and communicates intolerance for interpersonal violence on and off campus.” 

The description further discusses the difference between reactive and proactive green dots. Reactive green dots are ways people can intercede in “red dot” situations, while proactive green dots are things people can do to prevent violence before it happens. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college violence includes sex offenses, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, aggravated assaults, robberies and arson incidents. The highest number of crimes committed are sex offenses, with it being 44% of them reported on campus. Green Dot encourages students to watch out for one another on campus, thus becoming better bystanders and stopping crimes before they happen. 

Kelly Becker, assistant director of violence prevention and education, discussed the strategy’s mission. 

“The mission of Green Dot is to have violence-free communities,” said Becker. “It really focuses on not targeting either potential survivors or potential perpetrators in terms of trying to prevent that way, but it targets everyone else in our community who is in a position to see warning signs (and) red flags … and are also in a position to do something to stop it.” 

There are also other organizations involved in creating safe environments for students. Phone a Friend is the student organization partnered with Green Dot and it strives to improve campus safety by providing resources to students who are walking home alone. The organization was started by Jess Mitchell, a junior studying biological sciences. Mitchell discussed how Phone a Friend not only helps students remain safe during busy weekends on campus but also provides a community for those who need a welcoming space.  

“We do walk people home on red weekends where incidents of sexual violence have historically been the highest,” said Mitchell. “But we do much more than that. We are a community of people who have become such close friends and we’re always a very welcoming group (and) always looking for more volunteers.” 

Mitchell also mentioned the organization's involvement in awareness events, an example being their informed consent campaign which educates students on the meaning of consent and its common misconceptions. 

Green Dot emphasizes the importance of student’s comfort on campus because they are balancing both an academic and social life. Bre Wallace, a junior studying education, discussed how ending violence can help students feel safe and welcome on campus.  

“I think that everyone deserves to feel welcome at the school they attend,” said Wallace. “Educating people on violence and stuff like that is the only way we can stop violence from happening.” 

Wallace also discussed the influence her jobs as a learning community leader, orientation leader and RA have had on her knowledge of campus resources and how she became more active in the community through organizations and training sessions. 

Students who want to get involved in Green Dot are encouraged to participate in events. Becker discussed how Green Dot aims to create a strong community through different OU partnerships and all students are welcome to join. 

“A big part of Green Dot too is just community engagement,” said Becker. “Throughout the year we participate in lots of different programming for students to get them involved (and) come out. This week right now we are in our Green Dot week and we have partnered with culinary and with OU hockey to celebrate this week with us.” 

Becker continued to talk about the positive impact Green Dot has had on the OU community, however, students must remember that violence still occurs. Becker encourages students to reach out to the Survivor Advocacy Program and to check @ohio_hp for more information on upcoming events and training sessions.


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