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What’s Your Green Dot? January 23, 2012

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Leadership, Student Life.
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The Green Dots are here at U of T!

Last week, U of T was introduced to this violence prevention strategy during Green Dot Week, with events across all three campuses to educate students on violence prevention. A Green Dot is any action that furthers the prevention of personal violence, and focuses on ensuring that bystanders play a role.

Bystanders can make a real difference in preventing violence. Think of the bystander effect and its connection to the domino and/or butterfly effects: a charged particle will transmit its charge to particles close by, a hot material will emit heat to other materials around it, and so on. Interestingly, in human culture the bystander effect is usually characterized by not taking action.

The bystander effect was what prompted Dr. Dorothy Edwards of the University of Kentucky to become a leader in her field and develop the Green Dot Strategy, which is solidly based on extensive cross-disciplinary research into social diffusion theory, bystander literature, perpetrator data, and marketing/rebranding research. Says Dr. Edwards: “If Social Diffusion Theory speaks to ‘who’ and Bystander Theory speaks to “what”, then understanding how perpetrators operate in targeting, assessing and victimizing speaks to ‘how.’”

Bystanders can make a huge difference by making the conditions more difficult for potential perpetrators. Potential actions include the “Three Ds”: Direct, by suggesting a change in behavior to get a person out of a dangerous situation; Delegate, by getting someone to take care of a person who is at risk of violence and finding help; and/or Distract, by creating a distraction that will interrupt the flow of the potential violence.

Although Green Dot Week has now passed, you can still get involved. There are still Green Dot events planned at all three campuses. You can keep track of them on their Facebook page.

So, be a leader of your community and take the initiative to cover U of T with green dots and eradicate violence.

– Redon Hoxhaj, Communications Assistant, Office of Student Life

How can you contribute? January 13, 2012

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Student Life.
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As mentioned in an earlier post in our blog, Julia Butterfly-Hill lived in a tree for 738 days and would not come down until she received a guarantee that the 1000-year-old redwood tree would not be cut down.

It got me thinking. Very few of us can claim an accomplishment of this magnitude, and at first glance we might think only a small number can even consider themselves capable of such a feat.

In reading the post, I came away with three things that I think helped her achieve her goals: devotion, a sense of sacrifice, and a supporting cast.

The devotion it takes to get that kind of inspiration and endurance to live for two years high on top of a tree, through the cold of winter and heat of summer, through rain and strong winds, through not-so-infrequent earthquakes in California, is the kind that escalates mountains, crosses oceans, flies to other planets, saves/protects endangered species, lowers tuition fees, prevents talismanic trees from being cut down.

We often hear of leading by example, and to me there is no clearer example than sacrificing two years of your life to save that of another creature. It takes exactly that kind of sacrifice to send a message across loud and clear, to inspire people to follow your cause, to get the attention of people standing in your way.

I do not think anyone can achieve a goal without support from others. Even in an individual sport such as tennis, there are no athletes that succeed without a good coach, trainer, nutritionist, a strong group of friends and family. Support can come in many ways, shapes and forms, but one thing is for sure: a good leader is made so by a supporting cast. Would there be a leader if there was no one to lead?

– Redon Hoxhaj, Communications Assistant, Office of Student Life