UW-Green Bay is experimenting with a new safety app that enables Study Abroad students, with a push of a button, to get in touch with the University and emergency services. The safety app called “Safey.”
Unfortunately, it had a very real test last week, when Office of International Education employee study abroad coordinator, Jemma Lund, happened to be traveling on a non-work-related trip blocks from the terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.
“I (used the app). He got the message. He responded back. I said I was OK,” Lund said in a recent interview with WBAY-TV. Blahnik could also check her location.
“You can see where Jemma checked in as her location,” Blahnik said. “If a student hit that SOS and say, ‘A situation is happening, I don’t know where to go or where I am,’ I can be in real time with the student looking at a map, directing them where to go.'”
Blahnik says he plans to make “Safey” a mandatory download for students this fall, giving them another tool to stay safe on top of the training offered at the university.
“I have no concerns with it going live,” Blahnik says. “What makes the mobile-based platform unique is that the phone’s location services automatically updates information when a student is traveling so emergency numbers are always updated, etc. It also notifies me when we have a traveler in a risk area. While other safety apps know where a student is supposed to be, we all know that individuals travel during weekends and school breaks. A student studying in Scotland, for example, may travel to France for a weekend. The app will automatically tell me that the student is in France. If there is an event, I will also get an alert letting me know we have a student near a dangerous situation. I can then communicate with the student through the system via text message. The platform allows text messages through either cellular or WiFi networks, so the student does not need an international calling plan.”