The Maneater

Bus ad helps to spread the word about Green Dot

RSVP Center coordinator Christopher Walters: “We can make an impact in stopping violence.”

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center is creating awareness about sexual assault prevention in a new way: They have a bus with Green Dot advertisements.

An RSVP Center supervisor had worked with staff from the Student Health Center on previous projects, one of which used a bus.

When RSVP Center coordinator Christopher Walters started his position in September 2015, he was put in charge of making the vision of a Green Dot bus come to life. They wanted to apply the same marketing strategy to Green Dot as the Student Health Center had done in their earlier project.

Walters connected with Transit Advertising, the advertising company that the city of Columbia uses for their wraps, to create an advertisement. He worked with their design team on taking aspects of promotional pieces he had worked on with the Student Design Center.

“It was a pretty simple process, pretty quick,” Walters said. “It was just putting all the steps together.”

The company offered the RSVP Center campus routes. Walters specifically wanted the bus to run where students would see it, so that their message would have a broader reach.

According to the Green Dot website, Green Dot is a program that works to create a culture that reduces power-based personal violence. It is supported by MU and many other high schools, universities and institutions around the U.S. Through education and training, Green Dot hopes to enable bystanders to recognize signs of violence before it happens and help the potential victim escape harm.

According to a survey conducted by the Association of American Universities, 11.7 percent of survey respondents from 27 universities experienced non-consensual sexual activity since they began college.

Research accumulated by Green Dot shows that college women experience victimization greater than the overall population. Between one-fifth and one-quarter of females will face completed or attempted rape during their college careers.

Walters said the Green Dot program takes a new approach to fighting power-based personal violence. According to thinkprogress.org, society has traditionally focused on how to help women avoid rape and rather than telling men not to take advantage of women. Alternatively, Green Dot is gender-neutral and focuses on the idea of community, according to Walters.

“We can make an impact in stopping violence,” Walters said. “(Green Dot) provides hope. It empowers everyone to do something and be a part of this movement.”

While Walters works to promote the ideas of Green Dot, he said that there are barriers that can stop people from acting on a situation. The RSVP Center offers training to help students recognize and overcome these hurdles.

“Sometimes we’re worried about our personal safety,” Walters said. “Sometimes we’re worried about our reputation. We don’t want to accuse someone, and we don’t want to hurt a friend.”

The bus advertisement helps to increases awareness of Green Dot and motivates people to find out more about the program, Walters said. Last week, Walters did a presentation to the Nursing Association and asked who had seen the bus. Around 30 people raised their hands saying that they had.

“We have a saying here at the RSVP Center that we are working to put ourselves out of a job,” Walters said. “That’s our goal. If violence is not an issue on campus, then we’ve done our part.”

Edited by Allyson Vasilopulos | avasilopulos@themaneater.com

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