Stand for State rolls out at Penn State Lehigh Valley

February 02, 2016

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Students finally got their questions answered about the red and green dots that were covering hallways, walls, office doors and whiteboards across the Lehigh Valley campus during a kickoff event last Tuesday for Stand for State, a new initiative aimed at empowering Penn Staters to stand up for one another. The program officially launched University-wide last week. 

Red dots were hung up around campus and then statistics, such as 19 percent of domestic violence involves a weapon and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will experience attempted sexual assault while in college, were written on the red dots to begin raising awareness of the issue. The red dots were then covered by the green dots to symbolically represent the purpose of the program and to generate interest.

Many of the decorations and giveaways throughout the week were inspired by Green Dot, a national leader in violence prevention education. In 2015, about 200 faculty, staff and administrators received Green Dot’s bystander intervention training, preparing them to provide workshops for student leaders in 2016. Four staff members from Penn State Lehigh Valley attended these trainings including Tiffany Cresswell-Yeager, director of student and enrollment services; Leyna Belinsky, coordinator of student life and coordinator of the Stand for State program; Tammy Yocum-Cwienkala, campus counselor; and Marissa Ketcham, campus nurse.

Stand for State at Penn State Lehigh Valley

Penn State Lehigh Valley Stand for State Coordinator, Leyna Belinsky, gives information about the University-wide launch of Green Dot through Stand for State. Green dot is a global program aiming to educate and prevent sexual violence.

Penn State Lehigh Valley Multimedia Innovation Center

At the launch event on Jan. 26, over 70 students, faculty and staff were introduced to Stand for State and learned about the dots around campus. Belinsky explained the red dots represent a moment when words, choices or behaviors contribute to sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, bullying or abuse, while green dots represent a moment when words, choices and behaviors communicate intolerance of violence.

“I want everyone to know that a green dot does not have to be a big thing," explained Belinsky. "It’s giving someone a ride home, or telling someone to back off, or calling the police, or sharing your concerns with faculty and staff, and letting them know there might be something high risk going on.”

She then asked for everyone to commit to doing a green dot and being a proactive bystander. Everyone on campus was then invited to learn more about the Stand for State program throughout the rest of the week by visiting the stations in Centre Hall.

About 60 students a day came to participate in the activities at the stations to become more familiar with the program. One of the activities was a maze, which took students about a minute and 45 seconds to complete. This timeframe represented how someone is sexually assaulted every minute and 45 seconds to demonstrate how rampant of a problem it is. Another activity was a variation of Where’s Waldo? where students had to find and circle certain people in a photo. The amount of people circled represented the statistic of one in six women who will experience stalking in their lives. Students were also asked to guess the number of red M&Ms in a jar. The total number of M&Ms was 854 representing the student body. The 284 red M&Ms represented the number of students on campus that, according to statistics, will experience sexual, physical, emotional or dating abuse sometime in their life.

After each activity, Stand for State committee members shared tactics with students on how to prevent these violent acts from happening to themselves, their friends and their classmates. After learning some tactics, students participated in an art project. On a big display the word violence was written in red. Students wrote an action they would take if they witnessed bullying, verbal or sexual assault happening or about to happen on their green dot then mounted it on the display. By the end of the week, the word violence was completely covered up by all the green dots.

“I do this work because I believe that current rates of violence are not inevitable. If I didn’t believe this could change, I would be accepting some truths about humanity that I am just not willing to accept. I am not willing to pretend that it is not horrifying that thousands of women, children, and men will be victims of sexual violence, partner violence, stalking, and abuse every single day,” said Belinsky.

Students who participated in all of the activities received cards to enter into a drawing for prizes and received a voucher for a free lunch at the Lion’s Den. Also, a photo contest was held during the week where students with the most selfies with faculty and staff wearing the green Stand for State pins posted to social media won prizes. All of the activities were held to encourage students to embrace the program.

Going forward, all students will be exposed to Stand for State overview presentations in the coming months. And a select number of students will receive a more in depth training on the program.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 03, 2016