Students learn to stand up for each other

A group of students in a balloon room

Students posed for the reason why they Stand for State in the balloon room during the action week events.

Credit: Morgan Hadinger '17

Students, faculty and staff participated in the Stand for State action week activities held Sept. 12-15.  Stand for State is an initiative aimed at empowering Penn Staters to stand up for one another.  

This bystander intervention program is a global program aimed to educate and prevent sexual assault, stalking and dating/domestic violence. Students are taught to step in and intervene when they witness a form of abuse or violence by using one of the programs “three D’s” which are distract, delegate or direct.

Over the course of the week, students were encouraged to collect green dots and get rid of the red dots. 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.

“Upon completion of each activity held during the week in Centre Hall and the student lounge, students received a green dot,” said Marissa Ketcham, campus nurse and Penn State Lehigh Valley Stand for State coordinator.  “At the end of the week, those with three green dots showing their Stand for State involvement and participation could claim a prize.”

Students could participate in events such as slap band tracking; guessing the number of M&M’s in the jar, which represented the number of sexual assaults statistically for the campus; adding a link to a paper chain and writing what they would do for a friend in need; or taking selfies in the balloon room. The balloon room was full of red and green balloons. The red balloons had statistics written on them about the prevalence of violence. All of these events were designed to explain to students what Stand for State is about and how they can help in these situations. The most popular one was the slap band tracking. When students step in and take action to help someone in need, the band gets passed along to someone else. Over the course of the week, students could track where their bands wound up.

Ketcham advised everyone to commit to doing a green dot and being a proactive or reactive bystander.

“I want the students to feel comfortable with stepping in and becoming more aware of their surroundings,” said Ketcham. “It means observing when you go to a party, the grocery store or even to a restaurant. There are many ways to look out for a friend, a stranger or even a family member.”

The Lehigh Valley campus is encouraging students to participate in the more in-depth 90-minute Stand for State training coming later this fall.

The 90-minute training program offers insight on how to step in and deal with sexual assault, stalking and dating/domestic violence situations and what to be watch for in passing.

Ketcham hopes to receive positive participation at the training for Stand for State coming this fall, as well as future club involvement.

“I have exciting things planned for the Lehigh Valley Stand for State including club involvement, athletic involvement and guest lectures.  I want to enforce a positive image and reduce sexual violence that statistically we know our campus community is exposed to,” Ketcham said.

Stand for State overview presentations will be made to all first year students in the coming months to continue the momentum started during the action week activities.


Dennille Schuler

Public Relations Specialist
Penn State Lehigh Valley

Work Phone