New UMass Dartmouth Apps to Boost Campus Safety


UMass Dartmouth is Preparing to Roll Out the Rave Guardian Campus Safety App Designed to Help Keep Students Save With Just the Touch Of a Button.

guardian_badgeAudry Kivlin is a freshman dorm resident assistant at UMass Dartmouth. Her biggest job, she said, is "to keep students safe" so she is excited to hear how technology can help do that this fall.

The university is preparing to roll out the Rave Guardian campus safety app designed to check on the status of a student if, for example, he or she walks from the library to the dorm at night.

"It's a notification system that allows for better tracking," said Col. Emil Fioravanti, the campus director of public safety. "If you're not where you want to be at the expected time, campus police will show up."

The way it works you log in and tell the app where you are and where you are going. It starts a timer and you have to notify it when you reach your destination. The app automatically provides the student's profile and location to public safety so staff there can track you in case something happens along the way.

"That would be great," said Kivlin, 21, on campus Wednesday evening.

Fioravanti said the app should be available to staff and students by the end of September.

Courtny Franco, 20, another resident assistant, said she thinks it's a good idea because "it helps reassure residents and staff it's a safe place."

That's no mean feat on a 710-acre open campus with woods and quiet pockets, especially at night.

Rave Guardian Campus Safety App Rave Guardian turns mobile phones into personal safety assistant.

"Today's college students are very tech savvy and we see the chance to utilize new technology in connection with the public safety of students as a great opportunity," said Joe Sullivan, university spokesman.

"Rave Guardian has been well received everywhere it has been deployed, and while this latest version is still relatively new we are getting a great response from the thousands of students, parents and faculty where it is being rolled out for the back to school season," said Todd Piett, chief product officer at Rave Mobile Safety.

The company is based in Framingham and created the first version of its campus safety program in 2006 after interviewing thousands of students. Available on iPhone and Android, the app was launched earlier this year and is being rolled out at 100 colleges and universities across the country, according to Piett.

UMass Dartmouth bought Rave's MyAlert system four years ago to alert students about weather and other emergencies. It was especially put to good use in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing last year. Officials used the notification system to alert staff and students in order to evacuate the campus smoothly, Fioravanti said.

"Right after the marathon we started looking at other systems too. This one is an add-on security feature," he said.

Apps have been popular with students lately. Launched in spring, the Corsair Shuttle app that tracks the campus shuttle to reduce wait times has been heavily used and is another example of how seriously the university takes the safety of its students, officials said.

The university has also launched a TurboVote app to make voter registration and voting easy for students and staff.

At the last town elections, Jacob Miller was the only student who voted. He has been working on the project with the town and the university for a year and said he is pleased the app is now live.

He said he thinks it is cool how technology helping to enhance aspects like public safety and civic involvement.

"It's connecting students with what we are already connected to," he said of technology.


Posted on August 28, 2014

By Auditi Guha



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