Thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, Missouri Southern will soon have a new coordinator for its Green Dot program.

The program – which incorporates three Ds (direct, delegate and distract) – empowers individuals to use words and actions to promote safety and communicate intolerance for personal violence, specifically sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking.

“Any time we can pursue whatever avenue or strategy it is to make our campus safer, more welcoming, it’s something we’re going to do,” says Landon Adams, director of student life. “We view this as an opportunity to create and continue to build a safer environment on campus.”

The program was first implemented at MSSU in 2016. Certified trainers include Ken Kennedy, chief of the University Police Department; Deb Fort, director of Project Stay; and Josh Doak, director of Residence Life.

The training is a four-hour class that teaches students to recognize situations of power-based violence, strategies on how to report or handle those situations and ways to change the culture on campus.

“You want it to have a ripple-effect,” says Fort. “We train students here and then they take it to the dorms, or athletics, or even the youth group at their church. They take it somewhere and then they’re passing it on, so that you’re feeling the impact in the community.”

“We’re going to really expand this program,” says Kennedy. “And we’re really going to go after athletics, go after Greeks – go after different groups to get peers that are influential on campus. This is really going to allow us to do that.”

The hope is to have the coordinator position filled by the end of March.