Cool New App for College Students

Campus sexual assault is not uncommon, and colleges nationwide have taken some steps to try to prevent it from occurring by educating students on the risks of drinking and campus safety. Temple has a walking escort service for students walking alone at night, emergency phone towers are placed around campus, and if you ever traverse Temple’s dormitories, you can find posters that says “no means no”. However, campus sexual assaults continue to rise.

At typical college parties, you may find a very drunk female being led into someone’s bedroom. People that witness this may wonder where her friends are and if they should step in. Often times, they ignore the situation. Students from Carnegie Mellon are creating mobile apps designed to head off sexual assaults that occur at parties. One app, the NightOwl app, will allow student bystanders at parties to anonymously alert friends of the student in a compromised situation which should prompt them to check on her. Other features of the NightOwl include “location-based social-sharing scene; everyone at a party could see who else was there, share photos which erase quickly, choose music playlists, trade messages.”

This is certainly a unique innovation that has direct-benefit effects. In order for the NightOwl app to work, students must all use the app. A great way to get students to use the app is by introducing it to sororities and fraternities, the initial adopters. Once many of these party-goers actively use NightOwl, more students may join in. In a network of students, the cluster that would not have a need for the app would be those who do not party at all. Personally, the features that make the NightOwl attractive, such as being able to see who else is at a party, is enough to get me to check out the app.