Green Team finds footing at Dartmouth
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.