Say you’re at a restaurant when you notice two women sitting at the bar. They look uncomfortable – an apparent stranger has been talking to them for about 10 minutes, slowly getting physically closer all the while. What do you do? Should you do anything?
One EMU student who recently witnessed this scenario went up to the women, asked if they had met before, and chatted with them briefly until the stranger left. The two women expressed gratitude for this simple intervention.
That’s the type of action taught in “Green Dot” proactive bystander trainings – ways that anyone can help de-escalate or prevent situations of power-based personal violence. The trainings are tailored so that attendees can come up with a solution that’s within their comfort zones, such as starting a conversation with those two at the bar.
The next Green Dot trainings for students are Tues., Feb. 25 from 6-10 p.m. in the library’s JAMAR classroom and Sun., April 5 from 1-5 p.m. in University Commons 211/212. They’re led by Leda Werner, grant coordinator for student life; Jon Swartz, director of student accountability and restorative justice; and Jess Balac of the Collins Center.
“Oftentimes we see situations where we know we should step in, but we’re not sure how or what to do,” Werner said. “Green Dot gives folks tangible skills and tools to intervene in those instances and make a real difference for someone.”
This semester marks the full rollout of the trainings, which were first held last semester at EMU for community advisors and pastoral assistants. Werner said they hope to expand the training to incoming students this fall.
Student Gabby McMillon said the training added to her “toolbox of skills.”
“I found the intervention framework to be very useful and accessible, and soon found myself practicing things I learned from the training,” McMillon said.