Green Team finds footing at Dartmouth

By Sean Schultz, The Dartmouth Staff | 12/9/11 3:13pm


Head into any Greek house on a party night and you'll see no­tice count­less in­ter­ac­tions that grow more mud­dled as BAC's climb. Since their first gig at Theta in Feb­ru­ary, 2011, a group of Dart­mouth stu­dents have been work­ing cre­atively to an­swer ques­tions about the best way to han­dle the com­pli­ca­tions of drink­ing on cam­pus. Green Team, the stu­dent-run by­stander in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram de­signed to re­duce al­co­hol harm and sex­ual as­sault, has grown by leaps and bounds since its ini­tial im­ple­men­ta­tion. Mod­eled after a sim­i­lar by­stander in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram at Haver­ford called the Quaker Bounc­ers, Green Team began shak­ily and suf­fered staffing chal­lenges in the Spring.

Ac­cord­ing to Will Conaway '13, a Green Team com­mit­tee mem­ber, Sum­mer term bore wit­ness to a great in­crease in use. From spring to sum­mer, staffing is­sues that left some par­ties staffed by only a par­tial team dis­ap­peared. Now, Conaway says, any­where be­tween 20 to 30 peo­ple sign up to work work Green Team on a given Wednes­day, Fri­day or Sat­ur­day. Conaway es­ti­mates that there are over 300 trained Green Team mem­bers on cam­pus this fall and even more off cam­pus.

Rec­og­niz­ing the ben­e­fits of hav­ing mem­bers trained to deal with high-risk Greek is­sues, some Greek or­ga­ni­za­tions have begun send­ing mem­bers to get trained. Be­yond solv­ing staffing is­sues for Green Team, Conaway be­lieves that Green Team train­ing will kick in for stu­dents whether they're on duty or hang­ing out ca­su­ally with friends. In other words, hun­dreds of stu­dents trained in by­stander in­ter­ven­tion are now de­ployed across cam­pus each night, cer­tainly a pos­i­tive for cam­pus.

At this point, Green Team's fate is no longer in ques­tion. Conaway de­scribes the pro­gram as steady-state since the sum­mer and re­sources do not ap­pear to be an issue as the group's re­ceived strong sup­port from the Col­lege. Green Team's focus is shift­ing from major im­ple­men­ta­tion chal­lenges to data col­lec­tion, the analy­sis of which can feed into larger Col­lege harm re­duc­tion strate­gies.

In­ter­est­ingly, other col­leges may begin to pick up the pro­gram. In early No­vem­ber, stu­dents from De­pauw Uni­ver­sity vis­ited Hanover to dis­cuss the pro­gram with Green Team mem­bers and ob­served a party in progress. Conaway notes that many schools are still stuck with a pol­icy en­force­ment strat­egy with re­gard to al­co­hol. If other schools begin to try a harm re­duc­tion ap­proach, we may see lo­cally grown va­ri­eties of Green Team and the Haver­ford Bounc­ers pop­ping up across the na­tion. Conaway seems op­ti­mistic, but rec­og­nizes harm re­duc­tion in so­cial spaces as only one of many steps to chang­ing cam­pus drink­ing cul­ture. And, per­haps in the not-so-dis­tant fu­ture, Dart­mouth will be held up as a model of in­no­v­a­tive al­co­hol poli­cies.

Sean Schultz, The Dartmouth Staff