On September 18th and along with around 40 to 50 other schools in the United States, Bates hosted a 5-hour Green Dot training session. The goal of the training session was to train in bystander intervention and violence prevention, where Sirajah Raheem, a national trainer sent by Green Dot, helped train 26 Bates students represented at the event.
As James MacDonald stated, the training “covered a few different situations, such as domestic abuse/abusive relationships, stalking, and sexual assault. In groups we brainstormed what different actions/reactions of the people involved might be for the before, during, and after stages of these situations.”
Blake Reilly, the Assistant Director of Residential Life, stated, “since last year, we have made a lot changes…we have six additional certified trainers.” According to Reilly, the new team of trainers is rather diverse because “a lot of departments on campus are represented.”
Given the importance of having the Green Dot program on campus, last year Heidi Taylor’s Social Research Methods Class analyzed the program and reported the results, which came from 330 students, according to Blake Reilly. The demographics of who went through Green Dot training show that “it was generally represented of our student body…because we want to make sure that we are touching all aspects of campus, because there is no point in just one section of the campus knowing how to intervene and no one else knowing.”
However, the biggest criticism arose from the fact that “the training did not feel as inclusive…we have three videos in training, which are different situations and you pick out the red dots. All of those videos were hetero-normative and very white and that was basically the only visual representation you had. Everything else, you thought about, so that was hard and we knew it was there, but there was nothing we could do at the time because we can’t materialize videos,” Reilly said. Since then, Green Dot has made more diverse videos for training use.
“We say to focus a lot on the behaviors that are happening and not on the people doing that because that helps us break from the expected perspective we often see…[Basically] we revamped training and tried to make it more inclusive than it was before,” Reilly explained. Even though, this is merely the second year of Green Dot at Bates, a lot of changes are being made to improve the program and attract more people to be Green Dot certified.
Students who participated in the Green Dot training felt it was very valuable and helpful. Karly Oettgen, a sophomore, “decided to get trained because [she is] a JA as well as a new member of Bates EMS, [and] thinks that it’s super important to have a consciousness of the sorts of things that are happening on our campus and in our smaller communities within Bates.”
There seemed to be no complains about the training day, except that MacDonald would have “wish[ed] that they had suggested to bring a notebook or write down some notes (rather than reflections, which are good in their own regard) in the booklet [they] were given…But other than that minor adjustment, I wouldn’t really change much.”
The training day seemed to have made an impact on 26 individuals, which in turn will make an impact on us. Reilly said “we are talking about a community change and a cultural shift and to do that we need everyone.”