DeKALB — Students, faculty and staff can access campus safety notifications and request help at the touch of a button with the NIU Safe app, free for download in the Apple Store and Google Play.
The NIU Safe app, a product of AppArmor, has replaced the Everbridge app, which used to provide campus safety notifications.
NIU Police Commander Don Rodman said AppArmor created the NIU Safe app specifically for the university, which allows the university to make adjustments to it.
“[AppArmor] ultimately [has] the best integration for an emergency notification app,” Rodman said. “It truly becomes NIU’s product, and we can continue to tweak it and update it as we need to.”
The application was contracted at $76,000 for the first two years, with a base cost of $34,000 per renewal year, according to the procurement bulletin.
The university is saving money with the switch, because Everbridge cost $52,000 a year, Jeff Irvin, associate director of procurement management, said.
When first opening the app, users will enter their NIU credentials. They will then be taken to the homescreen where they can select one of a number of safety features.
Rodman said the NIU Safe app has seen about 3,000 downloads, which is higher than the amount Everbridge received, and that word of mouth will help that number grow even further.
“We recognize that, if something’s good, students will use it,” Rodman said. “And, obviously, word of mouth goes pretty broadly with that, so we’re excited about it.”
Two features are the Friend Walk and Virtual Walkhome, which have had 289 total uses since the beginning of the fall semester, according to Police and Public Safety data. The data shows the majority of these cases have been from the Friend Walk.
Both features allow users to invite another person to track their location as they walk across campus. The Friend Walk sends the user’s location to a friend, while Virtual Walkhome sends the user’s location to the dispatcher.
Other features include the Emergency Mobile BlueLight, which dispatches police to the user’s location, and Weather, which provides forecast, radar and closure information.