Rave gives students a new way to be safe

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

Appalachian State University Police recently began using a phone app to help increase safety on campus.

Rave Guardian is a mobile app that allows people to quickly contact emergency personnel.

A key feature is a timer users can set if they feel unsafe walking somewhere. You set the timer for however long it will take you to reach your destination and the University Police receive a notification. Once you reach your destination safely, you manually turn off the timer. If an emergency arises, you can alert the police by touching a button and they’ll be dispatched to your  location. If the timer runs out, the police will respond to assess the situation.

“If the timer expires, we’ll first call you to check in,” said Sandra Evans, the support services manager for University Police. “If we can’t get ahold of you by phone, we treat it like an emergency call and will immediately send officers to your location on our map.”

Kendrick Dawson, the Student Government Association director of health and campus safety, believes this feature will drastically improve the safety on Appalachian State’s campus.

“This specific part of [the app] can really make students feel safer walking across campus late at night,” Dawson said.

Users can fill out a profile and provide information such as medical history, emergency contacts and a photo of themselves to aid police.

Jason Marshburn, the director of environmental health, safety, and emergency management, encourages people to give as much information as they’re comfortable with.

“Your information is completely confidential until there’s an emergency, at which point we can access it to help you to the best of our abilities,” Marshburn said.

The feature can still be used off campus as long as you set a guardian other than the police. However these guardians won’t be able to access all the information the police can.

“You can make your guardian a friend, family member, or whoever,” Marshburn said. “They won’t be able to see the full profile you provided, but they’ll still be able to see your destination and that sort of thing.”

Your guardian doesn’t have to be a member of the university.

“If you want to invite a friend who maybe isn’t a university student, you can do that,” Marshburn said. “It connects to your contacts, so you can select them from your phone or text or email them, and you can send them an invite, and they can download the app for free.”

Another feature of the app is that it can directly connect you with the nearest 911 operator. The advantage over simply dialing 911 is that, if you call through the app, your personal profile can be utilized.

The final benefit the app provides is that now, even without a smartphone to download the app with, people can text the University Police and they’ll be able to provide assistance.

The Rave Guardian app is free to download on all mobile devices, and can be used by anybody with a university email address.

“I think this is a huge step in making this campus a safer place,” Dawson said. “With it, any student can have quick access to the police, and they can make sure they get from one place to another safely.”

Story by Tommy Culkin, Senior News Reporter