By: Mary Kate Dorr – A&E Editor, Grace Gorman – Staff Writer
We’ve all heard the stories. As young adults on a college campus, we’ve been told time and time again the precautions needed to ensure our safety and the dangerous situations that could occur otherwise. Use the buddy system, pour your own drink and be aware of your surroundings. “Yeah, yeah,” we say, but suddenly it’s Friday night and you’re surrounded by people you trust in a place you know, and safety doesn’t seem like an issue. You’re tired and ready to walk home, but don’t want to ask your friends to leave. It’s no big deal, right?
A new app available on iTunes knows situations like these occur. “Companion: Never Walk Alone” is an app in which you can invite friends, family and even campus police to virtually track your journey from point A to point B. After installing the app, you merely enter the destination and select contacts to accompany you as your “companion.” Your companions, who don’t even need to install the app to view your journey, then receive a live map to follow your whereabouts.
But what are your companions going to do if something happens to you? Using location services, the app alerts your companions if you begin running, have headphones ripped from your ears, don’t make it to your destination on time or drop your phone. If you don’t reply when asked if you are okay within fifteen seconds, your companions are alerted and your phone turns on an alarm. The app also has the ability to contact “9-1-1” with a simple tap and has an “I Feel Nervous” button that anonymously alerts campus police about areas students consider dangerous.
Safety is an issue being addressed on college campuses nationwide, and that is not only exemplified through this app but also through UD’s Green Dot campaign. The Green Dot mission, as stated on UD’s Green Dot webpage, is to end violence “one green dot at a time.”
What defines a Green Dot? A green dot is any choice, behavior; word or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates utter intolerance for power based personal violence in our UD community. A Green Dot is anything you do to make our community a safer one. Green dots are our companions, and by ensuring the safety of other students, we become theirs.
Around campus you will see emergency blue light poles. These are stations where you can go, press a button, and contact public safety immediately. However, with the Companion app, in any instance of violence your friends and the police will be notified right away. If you are unable to reach an emergency blue light, the app is a quick and easy-to-use alternative.
At UD, we value the idea of a community and can become a stronger one by encouraging the Green Dot lifestyle and always having our friends’ well-being and safety as a priority. Community is more than sharing class notes and inviting someone on to your porch. It’s being a companion, keeping an eye out for all friends and Flyers and reminding students that they are never alone.