Section: News

Safety plans app

Safety plans app

by Kristen Huffman

by Julia Waldow

Security on campus? There’s an app for that.

The Office of Campus Safety and Student Council’s Security and Safety Committee plan to introduce a mobile app by fall 2015 to better connect the campus and ensure student safety. The app would augment the current blue light system, which alerts Campus Safety to those in danger but has been used fewer than 20 times since its installation in 1987, according to Committee Chair Henry Heuck ’15.

“It’s not that [the blue lights] are obsolete, but we’re using technology now that we didn’t have [in 1987] to give people a greater sense that they can reach us at any time, anywhere,” Campus Safety Director Bob Hooper said.

Rather than develop an app from scratch, Campus Safety and the committee are looking into implementing an already-developed app, such as Guardly, bSafe or the Rave Alert Emergency Notification System. The blue light system would remain intact for students who do not have smartphones or cannot access the app. Kenyon may need to keep the blue lights due to a code requirement, according to President Sean Decatur.

The app will allow students to contact Safety at the push of a button, acting as a portable blue light. It will link to Campus Safety’s number, alert Safety officers of a student’s location through a GPS beacon, send out emergency messages and deliver tailored announcements to specific groups in certain locations.

While Campus Safety and the committee have not confirmed the price Kenyon would pay for the app, it will be “way, way cheaper than blue lights because there’s no external hardware,” Heuck said.

Campus Safety and the committee hope to appeal to the community within the coming months to solicit help in choosing an app finalist, which could then be downloaded for free as early as next semester.


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