U of M Students Design App to Help with Campus Safety

Updated: 04/12/2014 10:03 AM KSTP.com By: Brandi Powell

A small group of college students might soon make a big difference on campus.

For students on campus getting ready to head home from their evening class, they know it's going to be dark outside for their walk home, but dialing 624-WALK to get a security escort isn't always possible when a professor is talking.

A new mobile phone app aims to change the way parents and college students think about safety.

"It's a problem. We're design minded," said Matt McVeigh, a senior design student.

The group of U of M seniors - all friends - took on one big challenge. McVeigh said they thought, "Let's see if we can prove that students are smarter than crime." They think they've accomplished their goal, with the Usafe app.

"When we started working on the app, everyone was thinking about safety," said Taylor Trimble, a senor engineer student.

The Usafe app has been two months in the making. Senior engineer student, Kern Walster said, "Every time you think you've got a perfect design that you think people are going to understand, you realize something you think is obvious, people don't quite understand."

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS got a sneak peek at the app's rough draft. Walster said, "When you start up the app, you see this screen where you can choose where you want to get picked up, and you confirm it."

Students select anywhere they want to be dropped off. "And then you request a wait time," Walster said. "And if that's good, then you make a request, and you're ready [to get a U of M vetted safety escort, to walk you home]."

The students are going to tweak a few things in the coming weeks with small group trial runs, so that at the end of April, they can present the final product to the U of M.

The school still needs to give the project a green light.