Hope College is expanding its sexual assault prevention programming by connecting with two national initiatives through support from the Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program awarded by the State of Michigan and administered by the Michigan State Police.

The $17,178 grant is funding additional staff training in the Green Dot bystander-intervention program and underwriting the college’s participation in the Culture of Respect program of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

“We have a great foundation in the work that we’re already doing on campus, but there’s always more that can be done and there are always ways to improve,” said Christian Gibson, who is the victim advocate and prevention educator at Hope.  “Both Green Dot and Culture of Respect are nationally respected, evidence-based programs. Having more people trained in Green Dot will increase our capacity to train more students in the effective bystander-intervention approach to preventing sexual assault, and joining Culture of Respect is connecting us to a cohort of 20 other institutions around the country as we evaluate everything we’re doing currently and identify next steps.”

The Green Dot program trains witnesses to interrupt situations that are high-risk for sexual violence, teaching them skills and strategies to help them be confident about intervening and to do so effectively.  The approach is a central part of the training that the college provides to the members of the student-led STEP (Students Teaching and Empowering Peers) organization in addition to being used in academic settings like the freshman-level Health Dynamics course.  The grant will enable three members of the Hope staff to participate in a multi-day Green Dot training session led by the national program’s organizers, increasing to five the number of staff at the college who can in turn instruct students in the methodology.

NASPA’s Culture of Respect program assists colleges and universities in evaluating and strengthening their sexual assault prevention initiatives.  The two-year program provides training for a leadership team from each school and a framework for the process, guidance in conducting the institutional review and information regarding successful practices.  By connecting colleges and universities that are at the same point in the process in cohort groups, the program also provides an opportunity for the schools to learn from one another.