New application changes what it means to ‘LiveSafe’ on campus

One of K-State's top priorities is safety to all students around campus. If students choose to walk home during the night, they are encouraged to be aware of their surrounds and have easy access to safety by downloading K-State's new saftey application LiveSafe. (Photo Illustration by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Watch a friend walk home, send anonymous tips and be aware of areas of concern on campus, all from your smartphone.

About a year ago K-State’s Student Governing Association leadership began looking for a way to enhance safety on campus. During its search, it found an application called “LiveSafe.” LiveSafe is a free application for any smartphone or smart device, and the company has tailored a version specifically for K-State.

“We have great safety at K-State, but not necessarily in the most accessible form,” said Lindsey Elliott, news production specialist in the Division of Communications and Marketing.

Elliott has been giving demonstrations of LiveSafe around campus, and said she is excited to see the app take off.

The LiveSafe app costs the university $5,000 a year in a contract that is specified to last five years.

If making campus safer isn’t enough of an incentive, however, maybe a mini iPad will be. All students have to do is download K-State’s new safety application LiveSafe by March 11 through K-State’s website, the App Store, iTunes or Google Play.

Anyone who downloads LiveSafe by the deadline will be entered in a drawing to win a free iPad mini, a prize LiveSafe provided to K-State to help promote the app.

Once the app is downloaded, students can sign in through Facebook or create an account from scratch. Either way, students should be sure to add K-State as their university, then browse all the services LiveSafe has to offer.

“The whole app is really simple to use,” Elliott said. “We wanted people to be able to figure it out on their own.”

The main page of the application has four top features, but there are two features that Elliott is most excited about. The first is “Report Tips,” a way to report non-emergency tips separated into 12 categories. The categories include everything from accidents or harassment to mental health or suggestions.

Elliott stressed how campus police want to improve their communication with students, which makes this app ideal because it is designed for two-way communication. Tips are sent to an email account that is checked regularly, and they are read and responded to in real time.

Every tip is sent with the exact GPS location they came from, but students can still remain anonymous if they wish. Users have the ability to send audio, video and photos with their tips too.

“I think people are afraid to use the resources we have,” Lauren Whiteside, junior in elementary education, said. “This app is a way to make them feel safe without being a snitch.”

Whiteside is a resident assistant in West Hall, and she said she encourages all her residents to download the app; she’s already posted a bulletin board for her students in their hall to learn more about LiveSafe.

The second feature Elliott is most excited about is “StaySafe,” a way to virtually walk someone home, or wherever their destination may be. Before a student begins walking they send a text to a friend or family member who has the app as well with a link that contains their GPS location. By clicking on the link the recipient can watch a student walk in real time, and will be able to tell if they stop before their destination. There is also a texting feature and 911 emergency call button within SafeWalk.

“I think SafeWalk will be beneficial for students who are walking home from the Z lot, or a study session or a class that gets out late,” Peighton Jamison, freshman in theater and business, said. “I know that when I am walking home late from rehearsal I get nervous, and I’d like to know that someone knows exactly where I am.”

The third feature on the homepage is the “Emergency Options.” When students sign up with K-State as their school, the application automatically syncs in 911 and K-State Police Department, whom you can message or voice call. These messages are monitored 24/7, giving the recipient immediate attention and the appropriate assistance.

The fourth and final main feature is the “Safety Map,” which allows students to see areas of concern on campus. These areas are marked by campus police.

LiveSafe also contains weather, emergency procedures and resources too, including the C.A.R.E. Center, Wildcat Walk and more.

“I really like it,” Theresa Luensmann, graduate student in counseling and student development and assistant resident life coordinator of Boyd Hall, said. “I think it’s the kind of thing our students will respond well to, and I’m excited to see how it will work in the future.”

While Communications and Marketing have been the forerunners in bringing LiveSafe to K-State, the SGA has made it their goal to promote the app.

“Whatever we can do to further protect our students, I’m all for it,” Reagan Kays, senior in agribusiness and student body president, said.

Kays said even he gets nervous while walking alone at night.

“I think a lot of people have the perception that it’s for young women, and it is, but it’s also for everybody,” Kays said.

Kays said he recognizes not everyone wants to be identified when they report something, which is why one of his favorite features is the ability to remain anonymous.

Kays recently spoke of K-State’s introduction to the application at the Kansas Board of Regents, and said the board is excited about the implementation as well.

“Other schools in the Big 12 are using the app, but not in Kansas,” Kays said. “So, in that sense, we’re on the cutting edge.”