Stand for State: How You Can Help

Members of the Penn State World Campus community can help prevent violence both in the online/learning space and in their offline environment through the Stand for State initiative.

Stand for State is Penn State’s bystander intervention initiative focusing on sexual and relationship violence, mental health concerns, acts of bias, and risky drinking and drug use.

This program offers training that helps students learn how they can intervene for their peers online when they see troubling behavior, or intervene as bystanders in their everyday lives with friends, family, and co-workers.

This approach is based on the belief that we all should be looking out for each other, and each of us can play an important role in keeping everyone safe.

What You Can Do

Bystander intervention can play a critical role in showing people how they can safely and effectively play a role in preventing violence within their community. Bystanders can take action in two ways.


If you see something that could be a red flag indicating a risky situation, you can employ the 3-D system to react in a safe and effective way:

Direct. This means directly interacting with the people involved and letting them know you are concerned.

Distract. Diffusing a potentially risky situation can keep it from escalating and may let you prevent a negative outcome via distraction tactics.

Delegate. If you don’t feel comfortable stepping in, the situation feels unsafe to intervene, or you think someone else may be better suited to handle it, you can delegate.


The best way to handle risky situations is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Proactive violence prevention tactics are choices that we all can make to demonstrate to the people around us that we will not tolerate violence, and that everyone is expected to do their part in creating a safer community. This may include educating yourself about violence prevention and bystander intervention, being intentional about what you post to social media, offering education and training about violence prevention in staff meetings, and creating a plan with your friends to identify ways that you can look out for each other.

Action Steps

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Take one of these action steps today!