Villanova University has launched a new smartphone app for students, faculty and staff designed to enhance the safety and security of the campus community through faster response times and new crime reporting functions.
The app, Nova Safe, was announced in an official university release that states the app is now available in the App Store or on Google play, and will help Villanova’s Department of Public Safety respond to emergency situations more quickly and provide users with important safety information in near real time. In conjunction with the app’s launch, Villanova also held a campus-wide emergency preparedness exercise.
“Communication is key to maintaining a safe campus,” says David Tedjeske, Director of Public Safety at Villanova University. “Nova Safe facilitates communication with students, faculty and staff by providing quick access to emergency procedures, as well as multiple ways for the Villanova community to access Public Safety and to provide information about safety on campus.”
The ability for users to directly contact Public Safety via Nova Safe is a key feature of the new app. Users’ GPS location can then be viewed by a Public Safety dispatcher, and enable personnel to reach the user quickly in the case of an emergency. In total, Nova Safe features seven primary functions, including “submit a tip” and “shuttle locator.” Other functions include:
- Emergency Call and Text. If a user makes an emergency call or texts from the app, an alert is sent, along with a map showing the user’s current location, to the Public Safety dispatcher that they may need help.
- Crime Map. The map is an easy way to stay informed about the locations of certain types of incidents on campus.
- Friend Watch. Lets a user’s emergency contacts know when they are out and expect to return. Users can set the Friend Watch timer and describe their activity (i.e. going for a run).
- Check-In Instantly. Users can send a one-time text message to emergency contacts letting them know where they are. Also included in the message is a link to the user’s most recent location.
- Emergency Procedures. Allows users to quickly access emergency procedures, and explains what actions to take for various types of emergencies which can occur on campus.
To better acquaint students and university staff with the new Nova Safe app, the university has launched an informative webpage dedicated to the app and how to interact with it.
Villanova’s March 10 lockdown drill, meanwhile, was part of the University’s ongoing efforts to test its emergency preparedness. By initiating a lockdown drill of campus, and asking community members to stay inside a secured location, the university assessed its ability to safeguard students, faculty and staff in campus emergency situations.