SAU Buzz

Green Dots are Good Dots

by Kaylee Golden
Posted on Sep 21, 2017

Red dots and green dots- they seem innocent enough. But what if those red and green dots represented something much heavier? Red dots represent acts of violence, while green dots represent acts of intervention and proactivity against the acts of violence. This is the basis of “The Green Dot” program, a new bystander intervention program being enacted at St. Ambrose University.

Dr. Sarah Eikleberry, a Kinesiology professor at St. Ambrose, is one of three members of the faculty trained in the Green Dot intervention program.

“There are a lot of different training programs that were developed to reduce or eliminate violence on campuses,” she said. “And unfortunately, despite many excellent efforts from students and different types of employees that work on campuses, we weren't really seeing the number and the instances of sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence go down.”

That is where the Green Dot program comes into play. Dr. Dorothy Edwards, a PH.D. in counseling psychology, is the creator and founder of the program. Her goal was to continue working to end these instances of violence, but to tackle the issue in a new and more organized way.

“So, Dr. Edwards said okay, I think we can do this in a different way, we can develop not only a great training program, but also create some principles so that we can roll it out onto the campuses and specifically train high stakes people on campuses, which of course includes students that are influential, and maybe start a culture change,” Dr. Eikleberry said.

The Green Dot program stood out to Dr. Eikleberry and her colleagues because of its realistic approach to tackling a problem that looms so large.

“Green Dot is a great program, because whether it’s in the training or as an instructor like myself, Taylor [Kent], and Megan [Levetzsow] are, they give you different strategies to think about the ways that small actions, small programs, small initiatives can build over time if they are implemented in the right way,” Dr. Eikleberry said.

The Green Dot program was implemented last year with just two faculty advisors involved. After one of those advisors left the university, the program was entirely in the hands of Ambrose’s Title IX coordinator, Megan Levetzsow. So, she reached out to Dr. Eikleberry and Taylor Kent as new advisors for the program. Now, the instructors are looking to re-introduce the program in a variety of ways.

“I think the strategy we are thinking about is that we wanted to invite a different type of student to get involved, but also initiate various activities that would help strengthen the message and inspire people to perform those green dot behaviors and also help sustain it,” Dr. Eikleberry said. “Because regardless of whether we stick with green dot or not, really our aim is that we want to reduce these forms of power based violence on campuses.”

She sees the partnership with Megan Levetzsow as a unique and positive aspect of the Ambrose Green Dot program. Through Megan, the program is able to accurately assess the number of reported incidents that fall under Green Dot programming.

“As we educate people on campus violence, sometimes we see upticks in reporting, so we have to make sure to touch base with our administrators and say hey, this is actually okay, even though on paper it might seem a little scary, it's actually positive that our students and our staff and faculty are starting to observe as bystanders when something that's very positive is occurring right in front of them,” Dr. Eikleberry said.

While Eikleberry is a Kinesiology professor, she is also heavily involved with the Women and Gender Studies department and with on-campus clubs such as PRISM. She hopes that this Green Dot program is eye-opening for both students and faculty alike.

“As a faculty member i hope that through the activities and the trainings that we offer this year that I can help my colleagues see that they are an important part of reducing violence on campus or interpersonal violence on campus,” Dr. Eikleberry said. “I think the message I’ve been kind of kicking around in my head is this idea that it's not enough to be neutral right now whether it's about violence on campus or even hate, we have to move beyond neutrality.”

For those interested in learning more about this program, there are resources located on the Green Dot website, as well as on their official Twitter and Facebook pages. If you would like to learn more about SAU’s program, contact Megan Levetzsow, Dr. Eikleberry, or Taylor Kent.