A combined effort from students with the Experiential Leadership Institute, Campus Security & Public Safety and Information Technology Services (ITS) has made it so Gonzaga students, faculty and staff now have access to Rave Guardian, an app that aims to improve campus security and safety for everyone.

Jack Nixon, an associate project manager with the ITS office, said that Rave Guardian allows each person who uses it to have better security and safety features available any time. The app will provide resources that people might need in one place.

Rave Guardian includes six features intended to improve campus safety, which include an inbox, call directory, content directory, campus security quick links, safety timer and emergency call function, Nixon said.

“It’s really a way to personalize safety on campus for our students rather than always having them have to rush to a certain location or have campus security’s phone number saved in their device,” Nixon said.

The safety timer feature will allow users to list friends or family as their ‘guardians’ in the app, said Phillip Tyler, the crime prevention and education officer with Campus Security & Public Safety.

Tyler said that the safety timer will let users input when they are traveling to a destination and the estimated time to get there. If the user does not reach the destination in time or turn off the safety timer by then, it will alert the people listed as guardians, who can call to check in, or call campus security or 911.

Rave Guardian will be available to everyone who has a Gonzaga email address today, Tyler said. The app is available through the iOS app store or Google Play.

“We think this will really give them agency in co-producing their safety on campus,” Tyler said of students who use the app.

Among the resources that will be provided in the app’s call directory are the national suicide prevention hotline, a 24-hour sexual assault hotline and poison control, Nixon said. 

That students will also have access to the numbers of GU health and counseling and cura personalis through this feature, Tyler said.

In addition to having a call directory of resources and the safety timer feature, the inbox feature will provide emergency alerts through the app should a major life safety emergency occur. However, this feature is not a replacement for ZagAlert, Nixon said.

The content directory feature also lists links to GU resources so that students will always have access to content and sites they might need. The campus security call feature allows for a quick call to campus security should it be needed, and the emergency call feature also allows for the user to call 911 quickly, Nixon said.

“The specific goal of the app is to provide a better sense of security to the community, not just that abstract feeling of safety, but really provide the tools necessary to respond in a crisis,” Nixon said.

The idea to bring Rave Guardian to campus originated from a team of students who participated in Experiential Leadership Institute (ELI) in the fall 2020 semester.

The team of students included Kenzie Devening, Hannah Beighey, Elizabeth Freisinger and Maria Truong, who developed a project around the issue of campus security. They initially wanted to add more blue lights to campus, although this proved to be too expensive, said Beighey, a sophomore political science major.

While working on the ELI project, Rave Guardian was suggested to the team as a mobile security option for students, Beighey said. They also wanted an option that could be used in the Logan neighborhood since so many students live there, she said.

During ELI, the team submitted their project proposal idea for the app to ITS, who liked the idea and funded the project, said Devening, a sophomore nursing major. They also met with campus security, who helped push the idea through, she said.

“I think for me it’s just making students feel safe when they’re walking around campus or on campus, and that comes from everybody getting it or as many people as we can getting it, but just giving them that additional sense of security and safety,” Beighey said of the results she hopes Rave Guardian achieves.

Devening also said she hopes the app becomes a well-known resource for students.

An important part of this project was recognizing the students’ voices, because they were the ones who requested the app to improve campus safety, Tyler said.

Rave Guardian is used at other universities around the nation as well, and he said that he hopes to get 100% participation with the app because he believes it will improve safety and give students a sense of control over their own safety.

In addition to working with campus security and the student team from ELI, Nixon said GU Marketing and Communications aided in the project by advertising for the app, writing website content and making sure the app will be best suited to its audience. ITS and campus security were responsible for setting up and customizing the app, and Nixon said he appreciates how this came from listening to students’ voices about what they need to feel safe.

“I just hope that everybody in the community starts to see the value in this as quick as possible, and that they take the chance in downloading it, testing it out and utilizing it,” Nixon said. “The more people that we have on the app, the better, and the greater its effectiveness will be.”

Lillian Piel is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @lillianpiel.

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