How a Campus Safety App Doubles as a Marketing Tool for Universities

Picture of Mary Kate McGrath By Mary Kate McGrath


Campus Safety apps are widely used throughout the country to keep students safe and provide emergency assistance both on and off-site; but did you know certain systems have alert functions that can also be used as a great marketing tool for universities?

campus safety app marketing toolCampus safety apps like Rave Guardian are free for students to download and it connects their smartphones to campus security, 9-1-1 and trusted “guardians” (friends, house-mates, tutors, etc.). The app enables students to call for help with the quick press of a button, and - via the safety timer feature - to alert guardians to their late or non-arrival at a destination.

Rave's Campus Safety System seamlessly integrates with Smart911, giving students the opportunity to create Personal Safety Profiles. The profiles are only accessible by 9-1-1 call takers, who use the information provided to make faster and better decisions. The integration with Smart911 shortens response times and can save students' lives both on and off campus.

A university that implements the Rave Guardian Campus Safety System demonstrates a responsibility towards student wellbeing, sends a statement about tackling crime, and encourages the whole campus community to get smart about safety. 

What we hope to explain in this article is how Rave Guardian can double as a great marketing tool for universities by being an effective channel of communication, through which students can discover the opportunities that exist to make the most of their university experience. In order to best explain this concept, a brief overview of Rave Guardian's sister product - Rave Alert - is required. 

Rave Alert: A Fast, Reliable Mass Notification System

Rave Alert is a mass notification system that is most frequently used to warn students and faculty staff to the risk of danger. Alerts can be sent by system administrators from any Internet-connected device via multiple channel of communication (SMS, voice broadcast, email, social media, etc.). The system is also IPAWS-OPEN to receive public safety alerts by SMS and voice broadcast.

As emergency incidents may not always be university-wide, university databases can be divided into groups by campus, role or other characteristic. For example, it is possible to create a group for students living off-site so they do not unnecessarily receive alerts informing them to evacuate university grounds. It is also possible to create a group for faculty staff that have medical training or who are CERT-qualified.

The Rave Alert system allows for an unlimited number of groups and sub-groups to be created, and for students and other personnel to join as many groups as they wish. This provides the possibility for a group to be created - for example - for Spanish-speaking students (Rave Alert auto-translates into thirty-four languages) and for a sub-group to be created within that group for Spanish-speaking students with mobility issues who would require assistance during an emergency.

Mechanisms exist to ensure students who join multiple groups do not receive multiple alerts in the event of an emergency, or receive non-emergency notifications that are not relevant to them. Some universities use the alert function to keep students informed of cancelled lectures or facility closures, and students can choose how they wish to receive non-emergency notifications - for example, cancelled lectures via email, facility closures via Twitter, and details of forthcoming social events via Facebook.

SMS Opt-In/Opt-Out Function add to System´s Versatility

Rave Alert databases are most frequently populated by importing a university´s existing database. Thereafter the Rave Alert database and university´s database are synchronized in order to automatically add new students and new faculty personnel to the system. Depending on how the university's existing database is set up will determine the groups that are formed by default in the Rave Alert database and how each group is populated.

Once the Rave Alert database and default groups are populated, there are various ways to assign students and faculty to different groups and sub-groups. The simplest ways are either to include the process in the Smart911 Personal Safety Profile set-up - so students can manually select which groups they wish to belong to and their preferences for receiving non-emergency notifications - or universities can take advantage of an SMS opt-in/opt-out function.

The SMS opt-in/opt-out function works in the same way as text message marketing used by many big brand retailers. Students text a keyword to a dedicated short code number (i.e. “EVENTS” to 654321) and opt in to receive non-emergency notifications from the group related to the keyword. Their details are automatically added to the group or sub-group, until such time as the student indicates they no longer want to receive notifications by texting “STOP” to the same short code number.

The process is simple, it is one which most students are already familiar with, and it can be used as a great marketing tool for universities to encourage students to join groups such as:

  • Academic Advice Groups (by subject).
  • Student Activity Groups (by activity).
  • Disability Support Groups.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Groups.
  • Mental Health Support Groups.
  • International Student Groups.
  • Career Advice Groups.

The list of possibilities is long. It can include groups for Parent & Family Programs, faculty personnel, and alumni. Groups can be created that allow local employers to post summer job vacancies, or that allow overseas universities to advertise student exchange opportunities. Furthermore, as Rave Guardian apps are designed specifically for each university, the Rave Guardian Campus Safety System helps grow the university´s brand while keeping students safe both on and off-campus.

A Great Marketing Tool for Universities. But is it Right for Yours?

In addition to enhancing the safety of students, Rave Guardian can double as a great marketing tool for universities and complement existing marketing activities. However, with more than two and a half thousand universities throughout the country, Rave Guardian is not a one-size-fits-all system that will enhance the marketing activities of every university.

Therefore, if you would like to evaluate Rave Guardian in the context of a great marketing tool for universities, we invite you to get in touch and request a free demo of Rave Guardian in action. After a brief discussion to establish what your current marketing activities consist of, and how you feel they could be improved, we will organize a tailor-made demo to meet your specific requirements.


Rave Alert Campus Notifications Product Sheet

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Mary Kate McGrath

Written by Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.


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