Blue light poles have long been beacons of safety on the nation’s college campuses. But as their use decreases, some universities are looking to new technology to serve the same purpose. The student government of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has decided to test a personal safety app during the spring semester, called LifeLine. NET News sat down with Eric Reznicek, a senior in marketing and finance at UNL and student body president.
On what sparked their interest in this app:
REZNICEK: It was really a general feeling toward campus safety as a whole, and looking for some new solutions. An on-campus police force can only be in certain areas at certain times. The only other thing we have at this point in time is the blue light system on campus. That hardware is getting worn down and outdated, so it was time to either reinvest in the blue lights or look at another investment. Eric Reznicek is a marketing and finance major at UNL. He is a native of Omaha. (Photo courtesy of UNL Board of Regents)
Eric Reznicek is a marketing and finance major at UNL. He is a native of Omaha. (Photo courtesy of UNL Board of Regents)
Two other colleges in our association of Big Ten Students had already begun testing the app and only had great things to say, so we went the same route to see what all the hype was about.
On how the demo process will work:
REZNICEK: We had an application process so students could apply to be on the team that tests this application, and make sure we select a broad segment of the student body: off-campus students, on-campus students, residence halls and Greek students, non-traditional and traditional students. After the semester, we’ll rate them on how they think the effectiveness is, and how often they use it. We’ll be able to see things that way, and in addition, the app has a built-in system so we can see where people are using it (using GPS) so we can see where students might feel unsafe on campus.
On campus safety at UNL:
REZNICEK: I don’t think we have a problem with campus safety, but you always have to stay a step ahead of the game. We don’t want it to become a problem. Nowadays everyone has a smart phone in their hand so it was kind of a no-brainer in seeing what kind of a route we could take with campus safety.
On the next step for the University:
REZNICEK: Ultimately our goal would be to have this app available for every student on campus. If you’re a registered student and you pay fees, you have access to this application. So we need to find a department on campus that would be able to take this into their budget. I don’t think there’s anyone on campus who isn’t concerned with campus and student safety.
See the video from the app developer to learn more about how it works:
Hear LifeLine Response app developer Peter Cahill talk about what inspired him to create it: