Green Dot Program Strengthens Widener's Commitment to Safe Campus Culture

By Riley Smith ‘21 English & Anthropology
Participants talk at the Green Dot training
Staff and faculty participated in the Green Dot training in May.

Widener University faculty and staff are committed to facilitating a safe environment for everyone in the Widener community. To achieve that, the university has launched the Green Dot program.

What is Green Dot?

Traditional prevention programs aimed at reducing dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking may only approach men as potential perpetrators and women as potential victims, but Green Dot approaches all students, staff, administrators, and faculty as allies. The national program relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined effect is a safe campus culture that is intolerant of violence.

Does it work?

The college-based curriculum draws heavily on the experiences of college students and encourages participants to envision the type of world in which they want to live.

Studies have shown that across the country on college campuses and in high schools where Green Dot is present, there has been reduced sexual violence. One study in 2010-2013 found that interpersonal violence victimization rates were 17 percent lower among students attending a campus that had implemented Green Dot.

Participants in the Green Dot training talk around a table
Two Green Dot training programs have been offered at Widener.
How did Widener get involved?

Widener received the “It’s on Us” grant, a $30,000 grant to bring awareness and tools to campus for the prevention of sexual violence. This team was directed by Alison Dougherty, associate vice president of human resources, Title IX coordinator, and Widener CARE team member.

The Green Dot program embraces the diversity present on campuses and works to enable every person to make a difference.

When were the trainings?

Green Dot has facilitated two trainings on Widener’s campus in May and October. Staff and faculty participants learned the dynamics of power-based violence and how to intervene as a bystander when signs of violence are present.

Participants in the Green Dot training program

“It was a diverse representation of people across campus,” Dougherty said. “It was really exciting at orientation -- we had four to five people representing all of the different departments on campus, truly showing an institutional commitment.”

The program also empowers students with the knowledge and tools to be aware of and prevent sexual-based violence. Students in the 1821 Experience Pre-Orientation Program participated in the Green Dot training this summer. The training prepared them to be bystanders who intervene in necessary situations. Students walked away from the training inspired to share this knowledge with peers across campus.

What do participants say?

Tim Cairy, director of Student Success & Retention and Widener CARE team member, was an active participant in the first training. Cairy, along with the others trained, play a crucial part in the vigilance and knowledge needed to keep Widener a community that cares for one another.

Everybody plays a part in prevention and in education. If you see something, say something, do something. This is the mentality that Green Dot has inspired us to have. Regardless of who you are, what role you play on campus, here, in your home community, in your own personal life, there are ways to help. - Tim Cairy

Widener is committed to ensuring our beautiful campus is safe and diverse, and that our community continues to feel like a second family. With Green Dot, every person can take an active role in creating this environment.

“Whether you’re the outspoken person who would jump right in the middle and break a situation up without any fear, if you’re the person who is a little fearful of the repercussions of getting involved, if you are a quiet person, very reserved, and doesn’t like in any capacity to get involved, there are ways that even that everyone can make a difference,” said Cairy.

How can faculty, staff and students get involved?

There are more Green Dot trainings on the way for faculty, staff and students. A three-hour bystander training will be held Nov. 10, as well as a winter training for faculty and staff.

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