Green Dot wants students to think green when dealing with violence

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When people see a violent situation, they might be unaware of what to do. They might question whether they should even do anything at all, as they could potentially worsen the situation or put themselves in danger. Western has developed a new program so that all students, staff and faculty have an opportunity to be well prepared when dealing with violence. All that’s need is a little knowledge, a little time and a big green dot.

Prevention Education Specialist Ron Cohen defines Green Dot as a moment or opportunity for somebody to utter the intolerance of violence. According to Cohen, Green Dot is not a club, program or organization, but a moment of standing against a potential threat.

“It’s not a club. It’s not a position. It’s not a person. A lot of people say ‘I was a green dot today.’ You can’t be a green dot, you performed a green dot,” Cohen said.

Green Dot, which just started on campus last semester, is open to anyone interested in standing against violence as long as they understand and have the right knowledge of what it is, Cohen said.

“As far as collaborating with the program, any student, faculty or staff member, anybody can become a part of it,” Cohen said.

Cohen feels that even though Green Dot is a new movement, it has already started turning heads across campus.

“I think we’ve made a really good impact thus far on the campus,” Cohen said. “As we look around we see many students wearing green dot buttons. That’s definitely a start for us. People are feeling empowered by what Green Dot is.”

On Monday, March 5, the programmers held a self-defense course that also served as a violence prevention informational with demonstrations, applications and numerous free things to give away to students and staff. In addition to the self-defense classes that are offered numerous times throughout the year, Green Dot personnel will also host “Green Dot Jeopardy,” “Hug Your Homeboy/Homegirl” and an annual Bystander Intervention Conference all within the month of March. The Bystander Intervention Conference is a free six-hour conference that provides training to become an official green dot generator.

Prevention Education Coordinator Jackie Moser feels that anybody should be knowledgeable when it comes to protecting yourself in today’s society.

“[Knowledge] is important to have anywhere just because of a threat that something can happen,” Moser said. “We live in a society where violence does occur. The more students are aware of their surroundings, the more they’ll be safe in any situation they are in, on campus or off campus.”

Green Dot Generator, Resident Assistant and student Jackie Waters feels that students specifically should consider being trained as green dot personnel due to the fact that it helps save people from hurt, harm and danger. Currently, all of the Resident Assistants have been through the training. In the training, Waters explains, she learned three techniques of how to perform a green dot: direct, delegate and distract.

“Sometimes a lot of us green dots have that direct approach,” Waters said. “We go directly to the situation and we say ‘Hey this is not acceptable. Can you chance this?’ If we don’t feel that we are prompt to take action we delegate it to someone else to say something. For the distraction, we will go up to the person and be like ‘Hey do you have a quarter?’ in the middle of their situation to kind of distract them from the problem. Being an RA, we do run into a lot of those situations in the residence halls.”

Waters provides one stern warning to anybody that is considering getting more involved with Green Dot.

“Take that one person in your life that you honestly love, and write them down on a piece of paper,” Waters said. “Just think if somebody was to rape them, verbally abuse them or get into their minds mentally. Just think of the first thing that comes to your mind when something like that happens. That’s what helped me out in the program on willing to help prevent these different things. All and all, it could be you at the end of the day.”

The next Green Dot Training will be on March 24. Free food and a free T-shirt will be provided. For more information on the green dot program visit

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