"Intervene" Bystander Campaign

At a glance ...

Intervene fact sheet

Project Description

The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives at Cornell Health, in collaboration with the Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble, has developed a new bystander intervention video and workshop called Intervene © 2016.

What is Intervene?

Intervene is both a video and a workshop:

  • Video: The online 20-minute video Intervene includes brief filmed scenarios demonstrating ways in which student bystanders can successfully intervene in problematic situations. Seven different situations are addressed, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence (emotional abuse), hazing, alcohol emergency, emotional distress, and bias. Characters in the film represent the diverse identities of college student populations including race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. View the video, embedded below.
  • Workshop: An in-person 60-minute workshop provides an opportunity for students to view the video with others and engage in a facilitated conversation to reflect upon the attitudes and behaviors that influence the process of intervening as an individual or with assistance. Participants also discuss additional related scenarios not included in the film.

Both the video and workshop are:

  • based on real-life situations faced by students at Cornell and beyond
  • grounded in social behavior theories and public health research
  • developed and evaluated by the Skorton Center at Cornell Health

[Video transcript]


Intervene was designed to be used among undergraduate, graduate, and professional college students. Secondary audiences for Intervene include university staff, faculty, parents, alumni, and other academic institutions.


Cornell Health's Skorton Center for Health Initiatives conducted a rigorous evaluation of the new video and workshop. We conducted a randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of the video as a stand-alone intervention among undergraduate and graduate students. We also conducted a pilot evaluation of the workshop among undergraduate students. Survey questions were developed using the pro-social bystander model.

The survey explored the degree to which students:

  • Identified a situation as a problem
  • Felt a responsibility to act
  • Were likely to intervene

After four weeks, students who watched the stand-alone video reported a higher likelihood to intervene for most situations compared to a control group who did not view the video. The workshop was effective at increasing students' likelihood to intervene for most situations as measured in the four-week follow-up survey.

Use of Intervene resources

The following resources are available to the public at no cost, in the collaborative spirit of cultivating college health and well-being:

In lieu of payment: We hope you will consider helping us evaluate the success of this program (video and/or workshop) in various settings across the nation. Please take 5 minutes to share how you plan to use Intervene by completing this short Google form.

Background / Project History

The video Intervene, and corresponding training, recognizes all members of a campus community as collaborative partners in the cultivation of campus health and well-being. It also demonstrates the versatility of bystander intervention as a strategy that can be used to address a variety of campus issues. Intervene draws upon a well-studied Pro-Social Bystander Intervention Theory, which suggests seven steps for successfully intervening in a problematic situation.

7 Steps to an effective bystander intervention:

  1. Recognize the behavior
  2. Interpret behavior as a problem
  3. Feel a sense of responsibility
  4. Know what to do (or not do)
  5. Feel you have the ability to take action
  6. Perform a quick cost/benefit analysis
  7. Act (direct, distract, delegate, discuss)

The Intervene video models how students successfully navigate these steps in an authentic fashion, utilizing a variety of personal strategies. For example, some students communicate directly with the person causing the problem; some create a diversion or distraction to change the situation; still others call upon others (students, staff, and emergency personnel) for assistance.

Inspiration for Intervene came from American University's "Step Up" video. Their 5 1/2 minute video was one of the first of its kind to demonstrate how the same bystander intervention techniques can be used to address and prevent common college health concerns, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, alcohol poisoning, hazing, and suicide.

Building upon this model, staff from Cornell University expanded upon this idea by adding into Intervene scenarios on sexual harassment and bias. Cornell had been implementing bystander intervention programs on campus for years in a "one-topic-per-program" model. To learn more about Cornell's other bystander intervention initiatives please visit:

Quotes from Intervene participants

Here's what some of the workshop participants had to say about Intervene:

  • "Great workshop! I definitely feel, more prepared to handle these types of situations." ~ Undergraduate student
  • "I liked that it was about lots of things together - not just isolating something, especially sexual assault." ~ Undergraduate student
  • "The video was really realistic and representative of Cornell parties and problems students face." ~ Undergraduate student
  • "Very professional video! The discussion really engaged students effectively! It seemed like people felt really comfortable about sharing. Thanks!" ~ Undergraduate student

Use of materials

While educational videos are often used to reach incoming students at orientation events, Cornell's Intervene is designed to build upon existing educational programming that occurs during New Student Orientation. It was also deigned to be applicable to (and resonate with) the entire student body, including older undergraduate students, graduate, and professional students.

The information contained in the copyrighted Intervene materials is based on the developers' best efforts to interpret a body of research and literature, and to translate this into practical considerations. The materials are informational and educational in nature, and are intended to be used as developed and prepared by the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives.

  • The video content is not to be modified, altered or revised in any way.
  • The workshop content is not to be modified, altered, or revised in any way, except for tailoring to your own institutional practices, policies and resources.
  • The Skorton Center makes no representation or warranty express or implied regarding any particular outcome from the use of the materials.
  • Use in part or whole is permitted with attribution to developers.

Future plans

  • Additional bias scenes will be available soon for viewing.
  • We will continue to analyzing the results from our randomized control trial and pilot workshop evaluation of Intervene. Further analysis will be posted here in the coming months.


Student actors & extras:

Scene 1: Sexual Assault

Actors: Connie Bahng • Nick Byron • Alexa Cepeda • Iris Garrison-Driscoll • Jared Gates • Jackson Mann • Jacob Ross • Sandra Sackey

Extras: Lydia Anglin • Kevin Benson • Samantha Camy • Elena Ciminelli • Taylor Heaton Crisologo • Brooke Docherty • Amelia Elverson • Olivia Haynie • Kyle Nichols • Erin O'Connor • Stwart Pena • Conrad Perez • Ian Persaud • Weihong Rong • Shania Sukhu • Samuel Tellier • Dylan Van Duyne

Scene 2: Bias 1

Actors: Priscilla Blum • Connor Briggs • Brooke Shilling • Rebecca Skowron

Scene 3: Bias 2

Actors: Jessie Bonney-Burrill • Nic Cappon • Matt Grear • Emily Howes • Brooke Shilling

Scene 4: Bias 3

Actors: Brooke Shilling • Fiorella Fernandez • Clarise Fearn • Carla Tilghman • Joshua Regan • Bridget Doolittle

Extras: Krystal Anderson • Borja Cantero-Tubilla • Lauren Flesher • Maddie Gerrick • Laura Kambourian • Nicholas Karavolias • Elizabeth Lathrop • Lindsay Marano • Gina Mason • Maggie Mojo • Jessica Nagy • Jesse Pollard • Katie Roscoe • Elizabeth Schmucker • Dale Shearin • Sarah Wright

Scene 5: Hazing

Actors: Lawrence Bierra • Tyler Sapp

Scene 6: Emotional Distress

Actors: Samuel Morrison • Johnny Shea

Scene 7: Sexual Harassment

Actors: Eunice Akinola • Jake Hernandez • Noah Ruff • Cole Tucker

Extras: Andrew Eng • Levi Helms • Will Isenberg

Scene 8: Intimate Partner Violence

Actors: Kyra Leeds • Jose Useche

Extras: Priscilla Ann Blum • Jessie Bonney-Burrill • Kelly Crandall • Christopher DeAllie • Jon Gonzalez • Isabella Greenberg • Anusha Jain • Millicent Kastenbaum • Elliott Kim • Evelyn Nam • Michael Darwin Chang Saridakis

Scene 9: Alcohol Emergency

Actors: Gerrard Boucaud • Chris Farrell • Nicolette Lee • Daniel Masciari • Jelani Pitcher • Liam Sweeney

Extras: Kevin Benson • Luke Bianco • Christian DeAllie • Anjit Fageriai • Joanna Gao • Colton Haney • Jada Haynes • Hillary LeBeau • Jake Meiseles • Kai Pacheco • Michael Quint • Tori Riccelli • Austin Sagan • Kimberly Schonhorst • Genesis Miranda Soto • Cassandra Vilmenay


Contact Information

For assistance, questions, etc., please contact:

Laura Santacrose,'11, MPH
Assistant Director
Skorton Center for Health Initiatives
Cornell Health


We are grateful to the following individuals and company for their generous contributions. Their donations made possible both the creation of our video and the evaluation of the broader Intervene program.

  • Cornell University alumni: 
    - Wendy Jacobs and Mark Glassman
    - Mary Kiyonaga
    - Mary Bowler Jones
    - Erica Prager
    - Janet and Michael Cornfeld

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