Eastern students learn not to be bystanders

AJ Fournier, Campus Reporter

New Eastern students are required learn how to help in an emergency situation.

Emma Wilton, health education resource center intern, said EIU StepsUP! Bystander Intervention training is the mandatory one time training program for new students. It teaches them to help in problem situations.

“It teaches students to be that person that steps up and does something and makes a change,” Wilton said.

Wilton said the training is offered during the first six weeks of classes. It is offered different days and times throughout the week for students’ convenience.

Morgan Tudor, Health Communications and Marketing Coordinator, said when it comes to being a bystander, this training focuses on overall situations.

Tudor said that the main objective is to get students to know what role a bystander can take in any given situation and how they can make a difference.

“We want to make sure they feel comfortable even talking or planning and being more aware of red flags that they see,” Tudor said.

Tudor said students learn by watching videos, listening to lectures and doing activities. One activity is the snowball activity where students write down experiences where they were a bystander and didn’t intervene, she said. Then, they can learn from the experiences of others.

Wilton said the training has five different steps. The first step is noticing a problem and looking for red flags or situations that look sketchy.

The second step is identifying the problem and considering if what is going on is a problem or an emergency.

The third step is where the person will assume responsibility. This can also include enlisting others to help out as well, Wilton said.

The fourth step is knowing how to get help. This includes knowing all the local resources such as the university police department, the emergency lights on campus and when it is appropriate to call 911.

The fifth step is to implement the help.

Tudor said that the fifth step is the most important step. She said part of the program is to emphasis that people do the fifth step.

Wilson said that the training is making a difference on campus and in some of her presentations she notices when students relating to these issues.

“You can see when students get it, or they relate to something,” Wilson said. “Some share stories and it is most rewarding when they are finally getting it all.”

Wilton said that the training teaches about all types of different situations, from drinking and substance abuse to choking and fires.

Tudor said it also teaches how to handle emotional topics as well.

“It can be something as simple as overhearing a joke that was derogatory towards another person, and can escalate up to physical violence or suicide,” Tudor said.

AJ Fournier can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]