A bystander intervention program that teaches how small actions can have big results is already having a major impact at UCF, which in 2016 was the state’s leader for the training.
That’s extra impressive since the program, called Green Dot, was first introduced to the campus community in September. Since then, more than 4,500 students and faculty and staff members have been exposed to Green Dot.
“Green Dot is a bystander intervention program to help reduce power-based personal violence, which includes stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence and dating violence,” said Green Dot Strategy Coordinator Sam Vega, a first-generation college student who earned a master’s degree in Higher Education and Policy Studies from UCF in 2016.
“The premise is that small actions lead to one big impact,” she said.
Green Dot training includes becoming familiar with the “three Ds” – direct, delegate, and distract.
“Direct is going into the situation and saying, ‘Hey, that’s not cool what you’re doing, just stop,’” explained Vega. “Delegate would be calling UCFPD or calling someone that’s in the area – a bouncer, a bartender – anybody who can step in. Distract speaks for itself.”
Nearly 300 colleges and universities across the country have implemented the program, including six in Florida.
UCF is on top of the leaderboard for the 2016-2017 school year, with more than 25 students, faculty, and staff members fully trained in the program. This allows them to give the speeches that train others and keep Green Dot growing.
Campus areas such as Fraternity and Sorority Life are among those embracing Green Dot. For example, four Greek organizations now require that every member be trained.
Vega says that Green Dot helps to make “doing the right thing” more accessible.
“A lot of time we have bystanders who just don’t know what to do because they are emotionally shocked by what’s going on,” Vega said. “What we try to do is ensure them that they can work through those barriers and actually intervene in a realistic way that’s also comfortable for them.”
The new Green Dot office will officially open its doors to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 23.
Green Dot UCF is located in the John T. Washington Center Breezeway across from the book store, and it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.