by Ian McDonald
My name is Ian McDonald, I am a junior at UW Oshkosh studying political science and entrepreneurship. Currently I am the student body Vice President, and I sing in a gospel choir located here on campus.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has various safety measures taken on campus to ensure proactive protection of our students. In this blog I will outline a few basic safety features that every student should be aware of when coming to UWO.
Every freshman should download the UWO Mobile app on their phone. Our UWO Mobile app includes safety resources that you can utilize and is run by our on campus police department. The following subheadings will include features found in the UWO Mobile app and all safety features are free and included in your tuition.
UWO GO is an Uber-like service for students to use to get on or off campus. By downloading the UWO Mobile app and signing in with your NetID and password, you will be able to use UWO GO during its times of operation which are mostly in the afternoon ending at 2:30 am Wednesday through Saturday and 12:00 pm on Sunday through Tuesday. When you request a ride, select a pick up and drop off location. Once the locations are submitted, you will be alerted about when your ride will be arriving at your destination. You can use UWO GO as many times as you need in a single day and it’s already included in your tuition. UWO GO has a two mile boundary line around campus. This will take you to the grocery store, downtown shops and restaurants, across the river to our parking lot and football stadium, along with any other house or apartment that are within the boundaries. UWO GO is driven by Community Service Officers who are trained to drive these vehicles and work for the UWO Police Department for your safety. This program was created by the Oshkosh Student Association in partnership with the UWO Police Department. Watch a short video with more detail on UWO GO or learn more about UWO GO on the UWOPD website.
Have you ever studied in an empty room alone at night and felt scared or vulnerable? WorkAlone is a safety resource that allows you to register as a student working alone on a specific area on campus and will send you push notifications asking you to “check in” to make sure everything is alright. For example, if you say that you are working alone for three hours in Sage Hall, WorkAlone will send you a push notification every thirty minutes. If you fail to respond to your WorkAlone within five minutes, the app will make an outbound call to your emergency contact. The emergency contact has the option to press “1” to call you or “2” to call emergency services.
Safe Walk and Friend Walk
Have you ever walked out of the gym on your way home at night and didn’t feel comfortable walking alone? The Safe Walk option allows you to contact a Community Service Officer who will distbach to your location and safely walk you home. In a sense, it’s an on-call buddy system to ensure that you get home safely, even if you live off campus. Friend Walk is similar to Safe Walk, but it’s virtual! By Selecting Friend Walk you will send your location to your friend and when you select a destination you’re walking to they will watch your location in real time using GPS. Friend Walk includes a feature that will alert your friend if you become panicked, threatened, or attacked. Your friend will then have the option to call emergency services or contact you directly. Once you reach your destination you can finish your Friend Walk and disconnect. If you don’t want to send your location to a friend, you can complete a virtual safe walk by sending your location to the UWO Police Department. A Friend Walk demo can be found here.
Mobile Blue Light
You may recognize Blue Lights around campus. They are tall and square shaped posts with “Emergency” written on the side and a blue light on top. These Blue Lights are scattered around campus and if you are ever in an emergency, press the red button and you will be immediately put into contact with a UWO Police Dept. dispatcher. However, if you are not in reach of a blue light on campus, you can use our Mobile Blue Light in the UWO Mobile app which works just like a Blue Light. When you select the Mobile Blue Light you will be automatically connected with the UWO Police Dept, and you can press it anywhere on or off campus.
Through the UWO Mobile app you can sign up for Titan Alerts. Titan Alerts are put out by the UWO Police Dept. during an emergency. You will receive a text, email, or both describing what the alert is and what the following steps may be. Titan Alerts can be used for situations such as gas leaks, fires, active shooters, etc., and are only used during times of emergency.
Out of all these emergency services found on the UWO Mobile app, the one that I use most frequently is UWO GO. UWO GO provides transport for me when I need to get food and go to my off campus job. On demand transportation is expensive, and UWO GO is free and runs late just like Uber and Lyft.
These safety features are here to help the campus community feel safe while being away from home. The best part is that new safety features are added to the app at least once an academic year to ensure that UWO is up to date.