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Promoting a healthy community free of abuse and violence at the University of Virginia



#HOOSGotYourBack aims to create a community of trust where faculty, staff, students, and others in the Charlottesville community have each other's backs.

The campaign began in 2014 as a student initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence through bystander intervention. Together with the Sexual Assault Resource Agency, we partner with local merchants and UVA departments to promote a community of active bystanders that believes it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain a safe environment. We do this by designating days on which UVA departments and local merchants wear the #HOOSGotYourBack t-shirts as a show of support for a violence free community an a reminder that we've all got each other's back, both on an off Grounds. In addition, we provide green dot overviews to departments and merchants to further promote a community of active bystanders.

Merchant and University Partnerships

Every summer, we meet with local merchants and UVA departments to discuss the importance of being active bystanders and to prepare for the fall campaign.  We offer training opportunities for our partners to learn more about how they can engage with the campaign by mobilizing their staff and displaying #HOOSGotYourBack window clings, stickers, and flyers in their spaces.  We also distribute hundreds of #HOOSGotYourBack t-shirts to local merchants and UVA departments and coordinate specific dates in the fall that everyone will wear their shirts together as a reminder of our shared responsibility to look out for one another.

Student Pledge Day

Every fall, student organizations work together to coordinate the annual "Pledge Day," a day when students have the opportunity to sign the Pledge to be active bystanders and show their support by wearing a #HOOSGotYourBack t-shirt and practicing the skills they learn in their Green Dot trainings. Typically, several hundred students sign the pledge each year.

#HOOSGotYourBack Coasters

Throughout the year, we deliver three different versions of our #HOOSGotYourBack coasters to local merchants for use in their establishments. The coasters feature different ways that students can safely intervene as bystanders in a variety of different situations. The examples on the coasters is a reflection of the content that students learn in their Green Dot trainings.  If you are a local Charlottesville business and would like to order coasters through our office, please email us! 

Something doesn't seem right? Direct: This bystander intervention method is most effective when you feel you will not be physically harmed if you intervene. Ask questions such as: FCan I cal a friend for you? Can I walk you home? Do you want tokeep talking to them? Are you OK?Something doesnt seem right? Distract. This bystander intervention method can be a great way to break up an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation. Try these phrses: Will you help me find my phone? Im feeling sick, can you get me a glass of water? Don't we have a class together?Something doesn't seem right? Delegate. Sometimes, it's easier to intervene when you have help from friends or emergency services. Use this bystander method with the following actions: Ask a friend to go with you to talk to someone. Ask someone to call for help. Ask the bartender to check in.