New WLU apps in store for incoming first-years

Photo by Jessica Dik

Photo by Jessica Dik

Students can look digitally on their cell phones for information when coming back to school this year.

The Guidebook application, led by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, and the SafeHawk app, created by Special Constable Services, will provide safety tips, resources and campus maps for students.

The Guidebook app provides first-years, as well as upper-years, interactive campus maps and information on school services, clubs and Orientation Week information. The app is available for both Brantford and Waterloo campuses.

The app also has a special guidebook for O-Week volunteers that helps them with information about the university to guide first-year students.

Catherine Mulvihill, director of the student experience at the Students’ Union, took the lead on developing the app over the summer.

Mulvihill explained the intention of the app was to give first-year students a closer look at what is going on at the university, which comes with information about exam sessions, workshops and events happening in residences, as well as detailed information about campus partners and dining information.

“We can help promote a lot of different events on campus, but the intention is still to try and gear it towards students as they transition at Laurier,” Mulvihill explained.

Olivia Matthews, Students’ Union president and CEO, explained the efficiency of the app for Orientation Week. If the Students’ Union has to change the location of an event, students will get a notification on the app.

“It’s a tool of information but also a tool of connecting especially with first-year students,” said Matthews.

According to Mulvhill, the Students’ Union will keep posting information about Laurier through Guidebook year-round.

“We can help promote a lot of different events on campus, but the intention is still to try and gear it towards students as they transition at Laurier.”

The SafeHawk app, also created this year, started as a means for SCS to communicate with Laurier’s students, faculty and staff quickly, as well as providing them an easy way of contacting emergency and support resources.

Special Constables’ Greg Mudry, Karen Sider, as well as SCS’s associate director, Tammy Lee, were involved in SafeHawk’s initial set-up. The app is, also, operated for both Brantford and Waterloo campuses.

“We were looking to have students, faculty and staff be more safety conscious of and be more proactive in their approach to their safety and well-being,” Mudry said.

The SafeHawk app allows students to file reports to safety recourses on campus. It also has a personal safety tool set, which includes alarms, flashlights and campus maps.

According to Mudry, SCS also decided to include resources to assist those suffering with mental health.

“We thought it was important to include resources to assist those who are suffering to get those help and support that they need,” said Mudry.

Although the app is up and running, its official launch date will be September 10.

The app, like Laurier’s Emergency Notification System, has a push notification component that can send out mass messages to students in case of major incidences on campus.

According to Matthews, the SafeHawk app also comes with the aspect of gendered violence where students can report their own sexual assaults.

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