Green Dot fights violence on campus

Willa Colville

In July 2017, the Green Dot program was introduced to Iowa State as a defense against sexual assault and power-based violence on campus.

The purpose of Green Dot is to implement a bystander intervention strategy that prevents and reduces power-based personal violence. Though traditional violence prevention programs may only approach men as potential perpetrators and women as potential victims, their program approaches every student, administrator and faculty member as a potential ally, according to Green Dot’s parent company Alteristic.

The research-based program has been carried out within the Air Force, colleges and universities, elementary schools and high schools. Since being implemented within the Air Force, they have seen a 17 percent reduction in incidents. According to Jazzmine Brooks, Iowa State’s Green Dot coordinator, it may take a few years to see this kind of change on campus, but she is very hopeful the change will eventually be made. 

“We are in its [Green Dot] first year, so I don’t see [sexual assault, dating violence or stalking] changing tomorrow or even next year because the program evolves. It takes about 3 years just to become engrained in the system,” said Brooks. “My hope is that, if I do my job well, we all participate in [the program], learn a little bit more about [violence], and actually intervene and do proactive things, that we will see a lower rate of incidents.

“I also hope to see a culture that doesn’t allow for victim-blaming, supports reporting incidents, supports intervening in situations before they become a crisis or just thinking about us being a community and that we all look out for each other.”

There are a few factors that play into the Green Dot program, the first being bystander training. Iowa State’s Green Dot program hosts informational overviews about the program that last about an hour, but long-term bystander training program will be hopefully be introduced for students, faculty and staff in the near future. 

By attending the training, students will better understand the elements of cultural change, be able to recognize behaviors that constitute dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, learn to identify barriers that prevent active intervention and much more.

Participants receive a training certificate, credit for a student’s Iowa State Co-Curricular Transcript (CCT), free lunch or dinner, and Green Dot apparel. Currently, the sessions are limited to only 40 people, so those who wish to partake in training must register as soon as possible. To register visit

Currently there are over 50 Iowa State staff members trained. The faculty and staff bystander training has a similar structure to the student training, but the main difference, Brooks explained, is how the trainees can apply the information to their own life. 

“For students, you’re thinking about more realistic situations for example whether you’re at a party or you’re in a subgroup or thinking about an organization or class, it’s giving realistic situations that you may approach,” Brooks said. “With faculty and staff, it’s also giving them realistic options, given their circumstances whether it be professionally on campus or in their personal life. However, it’s also giving them insight on how to support students through these things and how they can start to recognize some of these things and be able to check in on them.” 

The Green Dot program is not supposed to be a replacement for current programs on campus, but rather an “umbrella” to create a unified message. Like the bystander training continually emphasizes, the Green Dot program is focused on creating a cultural change. 

“The inner layer of the program is that we are engaging international student issues, graduate student issues, issues within our Greek life, issues within athletics, issues within any community that would be a little bit more high risk,” Brooks said. “We’re also looking at introducing some of these concepts with our faculty a little bit more, bringing it to the classroom. It’s supposed to be on our bloodstream and that takes time too.”

Green Dot has also helped host a few events at Iowa State including “Sex in the Dark,” which featured a panel that answered questions about safe, consensual sex. The room the event took place in was completely dark so people would feel comfortable anonymously asking questions. In the future, Green Dot hopes to help host events like “Sex in the Dark.” They also have some events planned for April of 2018, which is sexual assault awareness month. 

Though Green Dot does not directly offer counseling for survivors of assault, they encourage people to visit Iowa State’s sexual misconduct website, which offers confidential counseling, gives directions for someone helping a friend and allows victims to file a report.