May 11, 2012 by Sandra Petri
Drexel’s Department of Public Safety launched Drexel Guardian May 9 to supplement its existing services with a mobile resource available to students, faculty and staff.
Drexel Guardian allows users to build a profile on DrexelOne with key personal information that can help Public Safety to respond quickly in the event of an emergency. The profile, which is free and completely optional, can include information such as a height, weight, hair and eye color, a picture for identification purposes, and any allergy information. Users can then link their Drexel Guardian account with their cell phone number, and any calls to Public Safety from that number will provide dispatchers with their name, approximate location and information from their profile.
Additionally, the service can be used as a “virtual campus escort.” When users are walking across campus alone, they can call the Guardian number to set up an alarm. After entering their PIN, users can choose how long they expect it will take them to arrive at their destination. If they arrive safely, students can call the same number and enter their PIN to deactivate the alarm. If it hasn’t been deactivated by the time when the alarm expires, a series of reminders will be sent. If it still isn’t deactivated, Drexel Police will be notified.
“The Drexel Guardian supplements the programs we have in place. I would always recommend that students, faculty, staff — that anybody in our community use the walking escorts. There’s no substitute for having someone there walking with you who’s in constant contact with our communication center. But this is another tool in our toolbox that broadens our capabilities,” Domenic Ceccanecchio, senior associate vice president of Public Safety, said.
DPS worked on Drexel Guardian with representatives from the University’s Office of Information Resources and Technology, University Communications, Student Life, and Rave, the company responsible for storing profiles and keeping all of the information safe.
“We’ve taken precautions, and we’ve worked very hard with the vendor to make sure that all of the information is secure. No one will have access to this information other than, for example, the dispatchers when the system is activated,” Ceccanecchio said.
Members of the Drexel community have the option to create a Drexel Guardian profile by logging into DrexelOne and choosing “Drexel Guardian” under the Safety and Security heading in the Drexel tab. There, they can link their cell phone with the account and install the advanced GPS tracking capabilities if their phone supports it. Emergency contact information can be added, as well as specifics about addresses and vehicles to help Public Safety track down a student in the event of an emergency.