Student Senate voted to fund a new mobile application on Nov. 14.
Called the “Rave Mobile Safety App,” it will be a downloadable system students can use on their smartphones.
After a presentation from Chief of Security Scott Law three weeks beforehand, Senate discussed the app and the benefits it would offer students and faculty. Law said this app is nicknamed the “blue light in your pocket,” which will hopefully benefit students in a time of emergency.
“Several other institutions have (the app), and it has proved successful in those places,” Law said.
The app works similar to the emergency buttons around campus. In the app, there is a panic button, which, when pressed, sends a signal to Drake Security. If the emergency is severe, there is also the option of sending a signal to 911 emergency, and the police will arrive as well.
This does require a GPS system, so both Drake Security and the police know your location.
“You, as a student, opt in (to this app). All smartphones have GPS, but you must set this option to do it, or it won’t benefit you,” Law said.
Another feature of this app includes a timer system.
“While we always recommend traveling with another person, we know it’s not always possible. The timer option calls security after a certain amount of time you set on your phone,” Law said. “For example, if you have to walk from the library to your car late at night, say it takes 10 minutes. After nine minutes, the app will ask you if you need a few minutes extra to walk to your car or if you’re in trouble. Depending on if you answer this or not, it will either add a couple minutes to your timer or it will notify security.”
A “circle of guardians” option, a newer feature in the app, acts like the timer, but it will call specific friends users set up in the phone. This was new the past several months. Again, students will have to agree to participate in this feature for it to work properly.
Along with these features, there are options to anonymously submit a problem to Drake Security as well as alert security if there is a medical problem, such as a diabetes or allergy emergency.
Although the app has a setup fee of $500 and an annual cost of $5,000, the app itself will be free to students. By starting a contract in the spring semester and continuing a three-year contract, Drake will save a total of $4,500. The cost will gradually be worked into the annual Drake budget after the second year.
“We never actually voted, but the Student Senate unanimously supported the mobile application,” said Vice President of Student Life Joey Gale. An advertising campaign will appear in the spring to create awareness of the app, and Drake Security hopes to implement this app in the spring.
“I hope the ad campaign will show the benefits of this app. There are no negatives to this. We just have to get students to use it,” Law said.
Gale showed enthusiasm for this improvement.
“I haven’t used it yet, but I wish I had it right now,” Gale said. “It will give me a sense of security all the time. The biggest thing is that students use it and download it.”
Story by Beth LeValley
Published on November 21, 2013