Campus Politics

Making the Commitment

“Thanks for choosing to take a stand against violence and dedicating 6 ½ hours to learn just how powerful you can be in preventing people from being hurt!”

This sentence appears on the sign-up page for Green Dot training programs at UP.  The word dedicating is all too true.  You have to commit six-and-a-half hours of your Saturday to training.  Of course it is for a good cause, but committing oneself to spending that much time on something as a college student is not always feasible.

I think that all students, faculty and other community members can understand the pressure of life at a university, so it is excusable to miss events here and there.  But even in the case of ASUP Elections, which doesn’t necessitate going anywhere but to a computer, and the voting takes about a minute of time after signing onto the UP Portal, student voting, according to The Beacon, reached an all-time high of 47%.  That’s a low turnout for something that accessible, but at least we’re getting better and not worse!

It’s hard to commit to things, especially when students are in a constant tug-of-war between social life, school, sports, outside work, studying outside of classes…  And yet these all seem like lame excuses for not attending programs that better ourselves and our entire community, but they are very real reasons just the same.  I’ve experienced this myself recently.  I wanted to commit myself to the six-and-a-half hour Green Dot training, but instead, I chose to spend that day committing myself to ten hours of building a set for a show.

I had committed myself to that theatre job long before I knew Green Dot training was happening that same day, so I felt a little better missing the training.  However, after reading Paul Meyers’ piece, No More! I couldn’t help but feel guilty again for not attending Green Dot training and being a part of the movement to stop sexual assault at UP.

The same goes for other events around campus.  Bringing Light to the Darkness: The Power of the Active Bystander is happening at 8 p.m. this Wednesday evening by the Bell Tower on campus, but what if a student has class?  Should they skip class to show their support?  It can feel awfully insincere to say, “Yeah, I wanted to go to that, but I was studying, or I was working,” especially when it is something one truly cares about.

Another issue is how unquantifiable the Green Dot statistics are.  We cannot count the number of Green Dots on campus, in the same way we cannot count the number of Red Dots.  We can at least know how many students have attended Green Dot Training, but despite those people’s efforts, Green Dots are still sort of vigilantes that do not seek attention, only success in preventing or stopping a Red Dot situation.

According to Gregory Pulver, a professor in the Theatre Department who is slated to become a Green Dot trainer, Green Dot programs will never be mandatory, only voluntary. Pulver noted, however, that the amount of attendees has been growing recently with the last two training sessions full.
Events like Bringing Light to the Darkness may be one way the University can get a sense of how many “Green Dots” are on our campus, but again, one does not have to attend an event to be a Green Dot.  In a recent article written by Jordan Schiemer and Nick MacKinnon, they encourage students to be loud and proud about being Green Dots.  I personally agree that this could fix a lot of the problems with the Green Dot program, because it is hard to stand out and essentially ostracize yourself as a Green Dot, but if everyone is actively pursuing the prevention and discontinuation of Red Dot situations, then it won’t feel so difficult to openly be a Green Dot.

Matt Adams, a Junior at UP and a member of the Community Standards Advisory Committee, explained that this committee has not been able to meet in quite some time, and therefore has not been as active as they could be in their mission to raise student awareness of campus policies, such as alcohol and drug abuse and sexual assault.

Despite setbacks, Adams said, “We have been able to vocalize our worries and concerns to the administration on these issues. We try to speak for the overall community and help the university try to find ways to broadcast their messages in a clear, consistent, and memorable way.”

Adams said from his perspective on his committee that it is important that collaboration between programs and committees such as the Community Standards Advisory Committee are made in the future so as to keep the community informed, and some of these are potential plans in the making. “We did have conversations with Espresso UP, and Bon App too, about making coffee cup holders that would distribute some of the important info about our campaigns.”

With the committee coming out of its hiatus and with many interests in student well-being flooding into the campus’ political and social foreground, it feels like the mood of campus is shifting in a way that more and more people each day are “bringing to light” issues and interests that ought to be discussed and made more prominent.

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Categories: Campus Politics

2 replies »

  1. I like that you address the issue of UP students feeling like we’re too busy to attend events. I feel like this is SO true and I’m glad I’m not the only one feels guilty when I’m too busy to take advantage of some of the awesome programs UP offers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Tyler! Way to take on a tough subject head on. I really enjoyed this one. I also love how you referenced that beacon article within the text.


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