MSSU gets grant to boost Green Dot program
JOPLIN, Mo. — According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, about six in every 1,000 students will be sexually assaulted on college campuses.
Missouri Southern is fighting those numbers with a grant from the CDC to boost their Green Dot program, which targets dangerous situations.
“It needs to stop. University Police is on the way and you need to go.”
Strong words from students acting out a dating violence scenario, demonstrating their Green Dot training, something taught early on to all Lions.
“The freshmen know the phrase, ‘See something. Say something,’ and that’s what the University Police Department portrays to the freshmen so they’re not afraid to attack the situation,” explained Lauren Kennedy, a junior at MSSU.
Confronting situations directly is just one of the tactics taught through the program aimed at reducing violence on campus.
“Whether it’s a guy dragging a drunk girl back to his room, or just a guy getting ready to slap his girlfriend, whatever the case may be, students are empowered to just step up and stop that either directly, delegating to someone else, or distracting the situation in some manner to make sure it stops,” explained University Police Chief Ken Kennedy.
The Green Dot program began in 2016, but a grant from the CDC, through the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, will fund a full-time coordinator and expansion of the training.
“Anytime we can go ahead and get people more trained, more prepared, more understanding of bystander programs, it’s something we want to do,” said Landon Adams, Director of Student Life and Conduct.
It’s something that reassures students too.
“It makes me feel a lot safer knowing that everyone has this information and they know what to do in those situations,” said Abby West, a senior at Missouri Southern.
While Kennedy hopes she never has to play out this scenario in real life, she’s feels confident that she would know exactly what to do.
“I would not have any problem intervening into the situation and protecting a student because it is my business, as far as being a Missouri Southern family, I’m always going to help out anybody I see that’s in trouble.”
Missouri Southern hopes to have the full-time Green Dot Coordinator position filled within the next few months.
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