Be the change

Students trained in bystander intervention

Graphic by : Sarah Massey I Production Manager

Every Ferris student has the potential to make a big impact with a small action.

The first in a series of Active Bystander Training seminars took place Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the University Center, and included valuable information about how to be an active bystander when potentially bad situations occur.

“We spend a tremendous amount of time in our community and on our campuses, and one thing about being on a college campus is that there is almost always somebody else around. When we look at sexual violence, alcohol abuse, mental health crises … generally there is somebody else who is seeing this and at least looking at what’s happening,” Ferris Assistant Director of Student Conduct Kaitlin Zies said.

The goal of the event was to educate students about the bystander effect and teach them a variety of ways to intervene during situations where an individual needs help.

“The bystander effect really focuses on … research, that the more people who are around and are observing something that happened, the less likely that somebody is to report,” Zies said.

To offset the bystander effect, there are five decision-making steps that can be implemented, which include: notice the event, interpret the event, assume responsibility, know how to help and step up. Some students found this method to be helpful.

“You can use it for multiple things … if you see a different fraternity or a different organization that’s hazing, or someone that’s very drunk, there’s multiple steps we can use to help protect that person and then prevent them from having an awkward situation or something
cause damage,” Ferris business administration senior Brett LaMere said.

The event was part of the Step Up! program, which aims to teach students how to be proactive when helping others. Members of Step Up! have previously presented to Ferris classes and registered student organizations, as well as being involved with Greek life and the Communication, Choices and Consent program.

“The main importance of the material is that we can learn how to delegate and distract, and just use simple methods in any situation that we need to,” Ferris construction management junior Jeremiah Hoover said.

By following the steps provided at the training, students can make an impact during situations involving sexual assault, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, discrimination, hazing and more.

“I think the most important thing is to take the first step and literally step up. You can’t follow any of the steps if you don’t take that first piece and get in there, and make sure that if you see a situation going on, that you are doing your best to handle it and not waiting for
somebody else to try to take care of it,” Ferris information security and intelligence senior Mitch Manson said.

Students interested in learning more can attend one of the upcoming training events occurring throughout the academic year, or visit Step Up! is always welcoming new members for training and volunteering.

“What you do or don’t do matters,” Zies said. “One small action on your part can drastically change how that night, or the rest of somebody else’s life, goes.