College students and smart phones: they go together like textbooks and lectures.
And, now, students and all other members of the Eastern Kentucky University family can use the most modern technology to manage their personal safety, thanks to an EKU version of the LiveSafe mobile app introduced today by the University’s Student Government Association (SGA).
The free app, available for download on both the Apple and Android platforms (look for the shield logo), puts various services at the fingertips of users, who can now more easily:
· message EKU Police when a phone call is not practical. (EKU also has a large deaf and hard of hearing population.)
· report suspicious behavior, possibly even attaching a photo. Location is automatically pinpointed with GPS accuracy by the app.
· set up a “safe walk” or arrange for a safety escort, especially at night.
· use an interactive map simply to navigate campus, an especially helpful feature for new students or visitors. The map denotes safety and health facilities, enhanced shelter-in-place buildings, and any other EKU facilities throughout Kentucky.
· call EKU Police to have an officer dispatched to their approximate location.
· access campus emergency plans and contact information.
The launch of the LiveSafe app is a dream come true for SGA President Katie Scott.
“Improvement of campus safety has been a personal goal of mine as SGA president,” she said, “and, having been involved in the process from the very beginning, it feels incredible to watch it come to fruition. I can’t think of anything better than knowing that I will be helping my fellow Colonels and implementing something that will continue on campus long after I graduate this May.
“Almost everyone these days has a smart phone they are glued to,” Scott continued. “Being able to bring student safety to an everyday device allows students to be involved in the conversation. As students, we want to be heard, and we want to know that we will be heard. With an app such as this, we can guarantee that if a dangerous situation arises, we are able to make that known almost immediately to the proper authority.”
The “beauty” of LiveSafe, Scott said, is that “it’s very much like an iceberg. It looks pretty, but it has so much depth. The interface is user-friendly, but there is so much more information dedicated to the way EKU handles safety and our procedures. I think it will enhance student safety because it will allow students to become more invested in the University and feel a part of the process. By downloading LiveSafe, students are not only making themselves safer and more well-informed members of the EKU community. They are allowing themselves to be a part of the solution in order to make our campus safer.”
EKU President Michael Benson said he “would tell anyone that our campus is very safe, and this is a tool to make it more safe. The most important thing we can do is ensure the safety of our students.”
Bryan Makinen, executive director of public safety and risk management at EKU, likened the app to having a “’blue phone’ in your pocket. Having immediate access to the current emergency procedures will allow a user to become familiar with their role in various types of emergencies and will serve as a guide, to help people protect themselves, during an emergency.
“We are very proud of Katie and the SGA for working together with campus leaders to provide a safe environment for all of our students, faculty and staff,” Makinen continued. “This is an opportunity to enhance our current safety systems in a platform that is likely to be utilized by all in our mobile-friendly environment. We encourage all individuals affiliated with EKU – students, faculty, staff, parents, visitors, community members, etcetera – to register for our RAVE emergency mass notification system (http://goo.gl/lCWFKD) and the LiveSafe app. These two products will be used to either push consistent communication during an emergency or be available to serve as a communications mechanism from the end user to the EKU Police.”
The LiveSafe app includes information relevant to EKU’s regional campuses. Also, when a LiveSafe user is on another college campus that uses the app, the user can switch to that institution’s version of LiveSafe.
“LiveSafe's mobile safety communications platform covers over 1 million lives," said LiveSafe CEO Carolyn Parent. “We look forward to working with Eastern Kentucky University to help us deliver on the mission of making the world a safer place through innovations that put the power of safety in everyone's hands."
Scott thanked Makinen and other EKU public safety staff members who were “instrumental in the setup, communication and implementation of the app. Many other departments were involved, she added, including Student Rights and Responsibilities, Title IX, Institutional Equity, and the Dean of Students. She also thanked SGA Executive Vice President Collin Potter as a “co-creator in this idea” and the Student Senate for voting to completely fund the project.
As of late morning on the official launch day of Feb. 1, approximately 170 had already signed up to use the EKU version of the LiveSafe app.
For more information about LiveSafe, visit the SGA office in Powell 132, call 859-622-1724 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the student governing body for EKU, the Student Government Association works to be a voice for all EKU students. The SGA promotes the students’ voice by serving on University committees, holding student forums, maintaining open and direct lines of communication, and through regular branch meetings. The Association is composed of Student Senate, Student Activities and Student Court, as well as an Executive Cabinet. By advocating for students, SGA’s mission is to enhance the students’ Eastern Experience.