Getting to know Green Dot


Iowa State departments and organizations will promote bystander intervention and violence prevention throughout October for Green Dot Action Month. 

Trigger warning: This article discusses topics such as violence, sexual assault and stalking. For resources regarding these topics, go to the Iowa State Green Dot website, call ISU police at (515) 294-4428, or dial 911 in an emergency.

This article is the first of a promotional series by the Iowa State Daily on Green Dot.

People see green dots on the sides of ISU police cars, in various places around campus and some people have them at the bottom of their email signatures, but what do they actually mean?

Green Dot is a bystander education program for the prevention of and proactive response to power-based personal violence, which includes stalking, dating violence and sexual assault.

The name “Green Dot” stems from a metaphor; while a red dot is used to represent power-based personal violence, green dots are proactive and reactive, signifying what people can do to stop and prevent violence from happening.

What does Green Dot mean for Iowa State?

Stalking, dating violence and sexual assaults happen all across the country, and Iowa State is not immune to this.

“We want to bring awareness to what’s going on, the reality of the campus culture, and provide students with the education and the resources to feel empowered to address these things on their own,” Hayley Goddard, leadership and student organizations coordinator, said.

Green Dot bridges the barriers between students and the resources they need to confront these problems, Goddard said. If an introverted or shy student is afraid to come forward, Green Dot can reassure that student by letting them know it is normal to feel anxiety but also give them the tools they need to overcome and work within that.

In that situation, students can talk to staff and faculty members, call the police or ask a front desk worker to step in and help them respond to the situation, so the student is not confronting it on their own.

Resources for preventative measures

Both Goddard and Carrie Giese, the health promotions coordinator for Green Dot and Community Engagement, said every student, faculty and staff member can find their role in preventing power-based personal violence. The main way for people to get involved is through training.

Green Dot offers training for students, faculty and staff and student organizations. There are three different trainings: an overview of what Green Dot is and beginning skill-building, intensive bystander training to help participants learn how to be proactive in response to violence and enhancement sessions, which give participants the opportunity to practice and build on what they have learned.

“The trainings are just the start of people’s learning,” Giese added.

Dorothy Edwards, the former executive director of the University of Kentucky, where she founded their Violence Intervention and Prevention Center, also founded her own company called Alteristic, Inc., which introduced the Green Dot violence prevention strategy to the world.

Since then, it has made its way to Iowa State’s campus.

“We have tremendous support…from the president, upper administration, about the Green Dot program, and that’s been tremendously helpful,” Giese emphasized.

How can Iowa State students get involved?

Green Dot Action Month takes place all through October. The Green Dot Trot will take place Oct. 1, which is a 4k run/walk across campus, followed by breakfast afterward.

Games on the Green will take place later in October, where students can learn about the program, play lawn games and get snacks. However, Giese and Goddard will be satisfied even if a student simply checks out the Green Dot website.

When asked what they want students to think of when they see a Green Dot, Giese responded, “I would say hope…hope and empowerment that power-based personal violence can end.”

For more information on Green Dot Action Month, visit the Green Dot Action Month website. For a comprehensive list of Green Dot resources, visit the Green Dot website.