Rave Guardian app should be more widely promoted on campus

This week The University of Alabama at Birmingham partnered with the Rave Guardian app to help keep their students, faculty, staff and visitors safe while on and around campus. I was disappointed when I heard the news because I had never heard of such on The University of Alabama's campus.

To explain more about the app itself, a student or faculty member may enter their campus email into the Rave Guardian system, providing them with easy contact to UAPD or 911, whether on or off campus. The app allows users to assign guardians to their account who would be contacted in the case of an emergency. Users are able to set timers when walking from a building to their car to ensure they arrive safely. If users don't make it back to their destinations to deactivate the timer, their designated guardians will be notified and UAPD or 911 will be contacted. Users can also upload a picture, car information and other pieces of identification. These, along with Rave Guardian’s GPS, would help authorities in the event of an emergency. 

Related story: Rave Guardian app increases student safety

As it turns out, The University of Alabama is also partnered with the app and has been for just over a year.

While the University released information about its partnership with the Rave Guardian app via campus-wide emails and an article in The Crimson White, I was very concerned by my lack of knowledge of the app until a full year later.

I commend the University for its multiple attempts, and successes, in promoting awareness and security on our campus. I have never once felt unsafe on campus. However, incidents like these can occur and we must take advantage of every possible opportunity to keep each person on and around our campus safe.

Rather than simply mention our school is partnered with Rave Guardian in a few emails, we should promote it to the same extent we promote other campus issues and activities. Nearly every person on campus hears about Week of Welcome activities, various sporting events and the Health Hut’s current location on the Quad. But programs that have been instated for the sole purpose of our protection have gone without notice for far too long.

We should do more than make progress in comparison to our previous actions, especially in areas like on-campus crime and sexual assault, and especially in a time when issues like these are so common in the news. Programs and partnerships, like ours with Rave Guardian, should be better promoted and more strongly encouraged by the University. Simply having the ability to connect with these types of resources is not enough to make an impact on our campus. If we are truly concerned for the benefit and safety of our community, we have to take much more effective action than has been taken in the past.

As students, we should also be more aware of the actions our university is taking, especially when it is for our benefit. We should not only pay more attention to what and who our school officials are partnering with, but we should also be more involved in the steps they are taking to improve the health and livelihood of our campus. Those of us who dearly love this university have a huge responsibility in its reputation and its future. We need to take action alongside our school officials, helping them partner with great systems like Rave Guardian while also promoting these partnerships to our fellow students and faculty. 

Danielle Waddell is a sophomore majoring in journalism. Her column runs weekly.

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