Green Dot etc.

The Green Dot etc. strategy aims to shift campus culture and increase proactive preventative behavior by targeting influential members from across a community with basic education, skill practice, and reactive interventions to high-risk situations. Every choice to be proactive as a bystander is categorized as a “new behavior” and thus a “Green Dot.” Individual decisions (green dots) group together to create larger change.

Dorothy Edwards, President of Alteristic
Image of Green Dot etc.
Program Name Level of Evidence Format Target Audience Special Features
Green Dot etc.
Supported By Evidence
  • In-person Workshop
  • Marketing Campaign
  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate Students
  • Faculty and staff

Green Dot etc. program is comprised of four main components:

  • The Opening Speech: The opening speech covers the basics of the Green Dot etc. strategy and can range from five minutes to an hour. Its core concepts are “inspiration, shared vision, individual acceptance, simplicity, and critical mass.” (Green Dot etc.) The goals of the speech are to inspire buy-in and explain the general strategy in order to begin the process of campus wide cultural change.
  • Bystander Trainings: Bystander trainings include video and role-play exercises and other activities which allow participants to practice proactive intervention skills. The training is split into four modules: Introduction to Green Dot; Recognizing Red Dots; Identifying Self-Defining Moments and Overcoming Obstacles; and Proactive and Reactive Green Dots. Length of the bystander training program can range between 6 hours to a weekend retreat.
  • Social Marketing: “A broad range of social marketing strategies are utilized to increase basic awareness and mainstream social acceptance of the core language and principles of Green Dot.” (Green Dot etc.)
  • Action/Mobilizing Events: “The purpose of the mobilizing events is to generate lots of proactive behaviors to establish to clear campus norms: (1) violence will not be tolerated, (2) Everyone is expected to do their parts to keep the community safe.” (Green Dot etc.) Events are single dose, time limited and reiterate the core values and goal of the Green Dot strategy.” (Green Dot etc.)

Green Dot etc. utilizes multiple methods to educate and train participants, including speeches given by a certified instructor; interactive activities aimed at training them to be effective bystanders; and social marketing techniques to increase basic social awareness and mainstream social acceptance in their communities.


If participants attend all modules they will experience four doses of the Green Dot etc. program. Multiple awareness events can help reinforce concepts and increase exposure to the strategy on campus.


To implement the Green Dot etc. program, administrators, faculty and staff from campus must attend a four-day training. On site trainings can be requested online or individuals can attend one of the Green Dot etc. institutes held two to three times per year.

Population Served

Community leaders, general college student body, high school student body, college administrators

Theoretical Basis For Approach

Green Dot etc. focuses heavily on current science, research and theory drawing from an array of fields including social psychology, marketing and developmental psychology. Current literature on violence against women suggests that, unlike bystander intervention training, programs that simply raise awareness of the topic are not effective strategies for preventing future violence (Anderson & Whiston, 2005). These findings have informed the bystander approach and the overall Green Dot etc. strategy.

Green Dot etc.’s training goals are to inspire greater action and address common barriers to intervention. Social diffusion theory (Rogers 1983) suggests cultural shifts can naturally spread from the actions of opinion leaders in a community: one “green dot” (a new, positive behavior) can turn into a movement with influential individuals on board. One barrier to intervention Green Dot etc.trainings attempt to address is ‘diffusion of responsibility,’ a phenomenon studied in psychology in which individuals are less likely to take action in a situation when there are additional bystanders present under the assumption others will intervene (Darley & Latane, 1968). Trainings aim to provide and model strategies for successful intervention taking this phenomenon into account.

Green Dot etc. strives to rebrand anti-violence work on campus, often seen as radical work by a small percentage of the population, by identifying and addressing current concerns within the community. Green Do etc.’s approach is informed largely by marketing research from the business world with the goal of creating an inclusive community wide-movement. Working closely with stakeholders (e.g. students, administrators, and faculty) and hearing their concerns is important to increasing buy-in and support for a successful rebranding effort (Merrilees and Miller, 2008).

Program Effectiveness

Elements of the Green Dot etc. strategy and the overall impact of the program on campus have been evaluated in multiple studies. Listening to the opening speech has been linked to lower rape myth acceptance while those who attend the bystander intervention training as well engage in bystander intervention behavior more frequently than speech attendees alone (Coker et al, 2011).

Research published in 2014 compared three campuses: one implementing the Green Dot etc. program and two with no bystander intervention programming. Rates of perpetration for stalking and sexual harassment were significantly lower for males who had attended the Green Dot etc. bystander training than at either comparison school (Coker et al, 2014). Overall, victimization was lower for women and men on the Green Dot etc. campus than at either comparison school and rates were significantly lower for women who attended the Green Dot bystander intervention training.


Over 100 colleges and universities have received Green Dot etc. training, including:

  • Creighton University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Harvard University
  • Rutgers University
  • Texas A & M
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Fully implementing the Green Dot etc. Strategy is a long term endeavor. On average it takes schools between 3-6 months to launch Green Dot etc. The first months are spent building infrastructure, planning, mastering content, fostering necessary relationships, and identifying training participants. Fully implementing the strategy requires significant advance notice and commitment.

Green Dot etc. bystander trainings cover similar topics as other bystander focused programs. As such, the specific tone and techniques and how they may mesh with a campus may be most important factor to consider.


Green Dot etc. determines costs for trainings on a case-by-case basis. There is no pre-determined fee.


Anderson, L. A. & Whiston,S. C. (2005). "Sexual assault education programs: A meta-analytic examination of their effectiveness." Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29(4), 374-388. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.2005.00237.x

Coker, A. L., Cook-Craig, P. G., Williams, C. M., Fisher, B. S., Clear, E. R., Garcia, L. S., & Hegge, L. M. (2011). Evaluation of Green Dot: An active bystander intervention to reduce sexual violence on college campuses.Violence against women, 17(6), 777-796. doi:10.1177/1077801211410264

Coker, A. L., Fisher, B. S., Bush, H. M., Swan, S. C., Williams, C. M., Clear, E. R., & DeGue, S. (2014). Evaluation of the Green Dot bystander intervention to reduce interpersonal violence among college students across three campuses. Violence against women, 21(12),1507-27. doi:10.1177/1077801214545284

Darley, J. M., & Latane, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8(4p1), 377-383. doi:10.1037/h0025589

Merrilees, B., & Miller, D. (2008). Principles of corporate rebranding. European Journal of Marketing, 42(5/6), 537-552. doi:10.1108/03090560810862499

Rogers, R. W. (1983). Cognitive and physiological processes in fear appeals and attitude change: A revised theory of protection motivation. In J.T. Cacioppo & R. Petty (eds). Social Psychophysiology: A Sourcebook, 153-176. Baltimore: The Guilford Press..