“Green Dot is a tool to rethink culture changing—what is appropriate on our campus and in our community. It also provides more tangible skills for intervening when you see something.”
Saint Martin’s University is committed to providing an environment where all students feel welcomed and safe so that they can succeed in their academic pursuits.
Led by the Benedictine values of community living, hospitality and respect for others, Saint Martin’s adopted the Green Dot program, a program designed to prevent sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking.
Says Katie Wieliczkiewicz, Saint Martin’s University’s director of campus life, “When we're talking about creating a campus where people feel safe, equitable and comfortable with stepping in when something happens, I think it really goes down to that line of hospitality and community living, and how we live those out.”
“Green Dot is a tool to rethink culture changing—what is appropriate on our campus and in our community,” says Wieliczkiewicz. “It also provides more tangible skills for intervening when you see something.”
Will Stakelin, director of public safety, adds that Green Dot “relates to bystander intervention and reducing personal power-based violence in our community.”
In spring 2014, Stakelin and Alice Loebsack, assistant director of sports medicine and wellness, attended an intensive five-day Green Dot Institute training and launched the program at Saint Martin’s that fall. Later, Wieliczkiewicz attended the Green Dot Institute. All three serve as instructors for the Saint Martin’s Green Dot training program.
In 2006, Dorothy Edwards, Ph.D., then the director of the University of Kentucky’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, launched Green Dot. The program trains students, faculty and staff as allies and asks participants to commit to taking individual responsibility for a safe campus culture by intervening as bystanders to prevent violence. The program, used in colleges across the country, has been shown to lower rates of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and other related crimes in college communities. It has been adapted for high schools, middle schools and elementary schools, in addition to government agencies and corporations.
The implementation of Green Dot relies on buy-in and support from community members in a top-down manner, so that everyone has an understanding of the fundamental concepts of the program. Loebsack, Stakelin and Wieliczkiewicz explained that they’re now starting to see a ripple effect from the training sessions that they’ve conducted in the last few years. “One we’ve gotten people in the space, they’re on board,” Wieliczkiewicz says.
Loebsack agrees. “Every time we’ve had sessions, everyone has been very receptive to it and found it enjoyable. It’s not just a lecture. Once people show up, they buy into the concept.”
One of the ways in which Loebsack, Stakelin and Wieliczkiewicz have grown the program is by identifying and inviting University community members to the Green Dot training who they feel can serve as advocates for the program. “We have our groups we can identify who would be engaged and help build the program,” says Stakelin. “It’s going to take faculty and staff to make sure there’s a good representation of our campus as a whole, and we rely on faculty and staff to identify students who would want to be involved in the process too.”
All three trainers envision a future for the program where Green Dot is a part of the Saint Martin’s culture. “We would love to see students and other members of the community who have been through the training start to take the lead on initiating training sessions and promoting the program,” says Stakelin.
“This is not a typical training,” Loebsack adds. “It’s not something where you’re looking at a PowerPoint as we drone on. It’s interactive and it’s meant for trainees to be up and moving around, talking to each other.”
Stakelin explains that the concepts learned in Green Dot training can be applied beyond the campus community. “This is a tool that people can utilize in their personal lives and their professional lives.”