By: Ali Kinsey
Late night study sessions can leave students walking back to their dorms at all hours of the night. This can be intimidating for some, but there are three new safety features being introduced to Ouachita this semester that will allow students to feel safer at any time or place on campus.
Smart911 has swept the nation and has been recently adopted by Clark County. The system allows anyone to create a free profile that will be available to dispatchers in times of emergency. One’s profile may contain a variety of information including medical conditions, car type or anything else that could be useful to rescuers. While Smart911 is useful and extremely easy to use, it is only a small part of OBU’s new safety features.
When signing up for Smart911, one may list 410 Ouachita Street as their address, but dispatchers might find navigating the 85-acre campus difficult. Thanks to Dr. Wesley Kluck and a feature called Smart911Facility, safety officials will be able to know your exact whereabouts on campus. Dr. Kluck spent over eight hours acquiring GPS locations for Smart911Facility.
“With Smart911 facility, back in the fall, I went around and put GPS coordinates around every building, intramural field, apartment, and anything in between. Now, if you call, it shows what building you are in,” Dr. Kluck said.
Smart911 and Smart911Facility are free innovations available to anyone, but Ouachita has gone a step further, investing $5,000 a year in order to provide students with an app that better utilizes these services. After creating a Smart911 profile, students can download the “Rave Mobile Guardian” app and signup using their school email address.
The app has many helpful features, like storing a list of “guardians” that will be contacted when you use the app for emergencies, but some of these features are more specifically linked to OBU. One of the features allows users to make a panic call to OBU Safety with just the touch of a button. This action will alert safety, and the call will be answered immediately in times of danger. Another useful feature allows students to send a tip to safety, anonymously if preferred. Whether a student notices suspicious activity or sees an act of bullying, safety can be alerted without any names tied to the report.
An additional unique feature on the app is the safety timer, which allows the user to set a timer based on an estimate of their travel time.
“Say you live in Caddo, and you’re going to walk to the library at night. You tell the timer it’s going to take you five minutes, and you press start,” Dr. Kluck explained. “Shortly before the timer is up, it will ask if you have gotten to your destination. If you do not stop the timer, it will notify your guardians that you were going to this specific location, and they might want to check on you and make sure you are okay.”
“I’ve always felt safe on Ouachita’s campus, but headlines get scarier every day, so I am very thankful for the new safety standards that are being introduced this semester,” said Said Sarah Jeffrey, a junior at OBU.
The new safety measures are being implemented to, ensure Ouachita students greater safety anywhere on campus.