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Safety app offers virtual guardian for Ohio State students, faculty and staff

Digital tools offer security options for campus community

With the start of the fall season, the days are getting darker much earlier. This week, university public safety officials are reminding students of some of the tools available to students to help keep them safe.

The Rave Guardian app allows students, faculty and staff to select friends or family as a virtual guardian to follow them via GPS tracking, using a destination-based timer. It’s a way to keep a virtual eye on loved ones as they travel.

“You can set it so that your parents or your friends or someone else that you know can follow you as you walk home at night,” said Robert Armstrong, director of Emergency Management and Fire Prevention in the Department of Public Safety. “You can make it so they can see where you are and you can set it so that if you don’t arrive within, say, 15 minutes, they get a notification that you did not arrive at that specific time and they may want to check in on you.”

This app, the university’s Buckeye Alert system and the Lyft Ride Smart program are just a few of a variety of safety resources available right now to keep the campus community safe. The university also announced the establishment of a task force to review safety issues on campus and in neighborhoods near the university – and to identify, implement and advocate for additional approaches that address violence, crime and high-risk activities and behaviors.

The Rave Guardian app is available for download by students, faculty and staff with a university username and password who have signed up for Buckeye Alerts.

Here’s how it works:

  • Once you “confirm your trip,” your guardian will receive a text message requesting them to follow you.
  • When they agree, they will see a view of your walking path and a safety timer countdown.
  • Your guardian will receive a notification when you deactivate the timer.
  • If time expires, your guardian will be alerted and encouraged to make appropriate follow-up.

Armstrong said it’s important to note that the GPS data is only available during an active session and is not stored.

Rave Guardian also includes faster delivery of Buckeye Alerts and safety notices via push notifications. Buckeye Alerts are issued when public safety officials believe the campus community needs to take immediate action to remain safe. To learn more about Buckeye Alerts, or to sign up a family member to receive the alerts, visit the Public Safety website.

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