RSVP Center to help lead first National Green Dot Day of Action

Prevention Coordinator Chris Walters: “We are actually the birthplace, the creator of this idea. We’re really excited that it at least had a little start here.”

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center will help lead a five-hour National Green Dot Day of Action training, which will be held on 50 college campuses across the country Sept. 18. Penn State and Florida State will also help lead the event.

RSVP Center Prevention Coordinator Chris Walters said the purpose of the training is to educate students on how to deal with violence on campus.

“It’s not a five, six-hour ‘let us lecture at you,’” Walters said. “It’s an opportunity for folks to learn and share from each other.”

Walters, who is leading the event, said the training is a different take on the Green Dot Day that has been offered at MU for seven years.

“Each semester we do a conference, a training for the students here at MU,” Walters said. “This year we’ve kind of put a spin on it. We’ve made it like a large national collaboration that’s happening all in one day.”

Walters said because the main focus is bystander intervention, participants will be put in scenarios that allow them to identify problematic or “red dot” situations and find the best ways to react. Walters said participants will also be encouraged to focus on “green dot” or preventative measures, such as using social media to speak out about violence.

“It’s essentially folks taking that upon themselves to say, ‘I don’t have to do a lot, but I can do something,’” Walters said. “And those small actions combined with everyone else create a lot of movement and change on an issue that has not seen a lot of movement and change in the past.”

Walters said the idea for the national program originated last fall when creator and director of Green Dot Dorothy Edwards came to MU for a consultation visit. Edwards spoke to team members, students and administration to find what more could be done with the program.

Along with the other two primary campuses, Walters said MU began to work with the National Green Dot program to create infrastructure for the training. The primary schools would help provide guidance to campuses who were interested in being a part of the program. Each primary campus has its own set of schools it is responsible for, Walters said.

“We are actually the birthplace, the creator of this idea,” Walters said. “We’re really excited that it at least had a little start here.”

Walters said there will be live stream and social media components of the event, allowing campuses to connect during the training. Walters said this will be possible because the trainings will be held at around the same time regardless of time zone. According to MU’s RSVP Green Dot page, the event will go from 12-6 p.m. At the end of the training, session participants will receive a certificate.

“It’s what students do afterwards that really makes an impact,” Walters said. “It’s you spreading it out and talking with your fellow students and faculty and staff is what makes that important.”

Senior Marlee Ellison has been a part of Green Dot since her freshman year. She said she has been an active member within the RSVP Center and reducing power-based violence on campus.

“I was really happy to see that there were campus-based resources for survivors so early on in my college career,” Ellison said. “I'm glad we have such a caring and open community as far as that goes. Since then, I've been really working to change red dots on campus to green ones.”

Ellison said nationalizing the program will create a sense of unity across the country.

“There's more power in solidarity,” Ellison said. “If we can all work to create Green Dots I think campus — and the world — can be safer for everyone.”

Edited by Kyra Haas |

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