New app to improve student safety

If you have ever actively walked anywhere on the Castleton University, you’ve seen its classic blue light system that almost every university in the United States has.

When taking college tours, you probably heard the classic “if you are standing at one blue light you can see the next one,” from any tour guide.

These blue lights are on campus for our safety, to use in case of an emergency where you cannot take out your phone and call Public Safety or Emergency Services.

Well what if there was another step in the process to improve our safety and comfort on Castleton’s campus?

Well, there is – or soon will be.

Starting this year, CU is moving away from the “send alert now” system of notifying students of emergencies to an overarching system called Everbridge, according to Keith Molinari, the director of Public Safety at Castleton.

Everbridge brings the Castleton campus both Castleton alerts and Castleton safety connection. This system, along with the application is currently being beta-tested by select students on campus before it is rolled out to the rest of campus in January.

Molinari said the school is not removing or getting rid of the blue lights, but that this program is merely enhancing the safety features we have here on campus.

So far, students have gotten an email from Everbridge prompting them with a link to set up their accounts through the website. The original email about signing up for the notifications was sent on Aug. 27 and since then, approximately 18 percent of Castleton Students have signed up for the alerts.

“I think it’s sick, but it’s only gonna be helpful if the majority use it,” said junior Jac Culpo.

Molinari made a similar plea to students to sign up.

“I would love for there to be 90 percent enrollment with our new system,” he said.

The more people who know what is going on the better, especially in an emergency, he said.

The system offers a standard alert part that would tell students if it was a test or an actual emergency on this campus. The app also offers an ability for students to “check in” with Public Safety if they ever felt the need to let officers know their location if feeling unsafe.

Other features include an “SOS’ button, which if you don’t cancel the alert within 10 seconds, an alert will be sent to Public Safety with your location and a “emergency call” button that will connect you on the phone with an officer.

“I think this app is a great addition to this campus,” said student Clayton Bailey.

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