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U Nevada Reno App Puts Safety Features on Student Phones

A university in Nevada has commissioned the development of a custom campus safety app that will now be configured for eight other public colleges and universities in the state. The University of Nevada, Reno worked with AppArmor, which creates branded editions of its safety app. The Reno edition was released in August 2015. Now the other schools within the Nevada System of Higher Education will be getting their own versions.

SafePack, as it's called, is available for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The version of the app for Reno includes:

  • A news feed for safety-related information, such as weather alerts;
  • Contact buttons for on-campus and off-campus emergency personnel;
  • "Safe ride" resources, including campus escort services;
  • A mobile emergency "bluelight" that lets users send their location to the campus police department;
  • A personal safety toolbox with a flashlight, alarm and personal safety tips;
  • Mass notification;
  • Crime and tip reporting;
  • Campus maps for buildings, shuttles and parking;
  • Offline emergency plans; and
  • Student support resources, including mental health and disability contacts.

At the time the campus released SafePack to its students, Todd Renwick, commander of university police said that not only did the app allow for "mobile access to police services," but "it puts the students and staff in closer contact with us."

The company also offers a dashboard for administration and configuration of the campus app. Changes made to the content are reflected in real-time on user phones. The dashboard can also be integrated into other safety applications in use, including an alternate an emergency notification system.

The company's Web site displays a $5,000 set-up fee for creating a custom version of its safety app for both device platforms to be used by a "medium-sized" institution (defined as 20,000 users) and a $275 per month fee for support. Pricing varies from there based on the size of the school.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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