Having the UMF Safe app on students’ phones provides a level of comfort and safety. From left are UMF students Zoe Lawler, sophomore from Palmyra; Anthony Boyle, a junior from Wallingford, Conn.; and Gabbi Fultz, a senior from South Berwick. UMF photo

When University of Maine at Farmington students returned to campus this fall, they had access to a new campus tool for personal safety right on their cellphones.

The UMF Safe app, available for free on both iPhone and Android smartphones, provides easy access to multiple campus resources to keep students safe, connected and informed, according to a news release from the university.

The app was developed by Wayne Drake, former Police Sergeant with UMF’s Department of Public Safety/Campus Police, with federal support from the Corona Virus Emergency Supplemental Fund. It was completed this past spring.

The UMF- specific app that puts a collection of safety resources at students’ and campus community members’ finger tips — 24/7. These features include direct access to campus police and emergency numbers, a trackable Friend Walk, and direct links to common campus support resources that will help students have a successful college experience.

“Through my work on campus with public safety, I noticed that when students came to me with safety questions, they often didn’t know about our blue light call boxes. It made me think about a better way to meet students where they are, from an accessibility and tech perspective. My research led me to an app developer. With their help, we were able to come up with an intuitive product that could address a wide range of student issues. It was a very rewarding experience to be able to help bring this resource to students,” said Drake.

A key feature of the app is the virtual Friend Walk. This resource allows an individual to send a message to a friend with a link so they can track that person virtually as they walk to their destination.


UMF Safe works with the GPS functionality of an individual’s phone and shows their location on a map, their progress and their safe arrival at their destination. If they need assistance for any reason, there is a button to notify their friend and initiate a call to Campus Police.

“The Friend Walk feature is great,” said Anthony Boyle, a junior from Wallingford, Conn. “You can use it on campus or in town, and it just provides you with another level of comfort and safety.”

Another unique feature on the app is a Mobile Blue Light. Most colleges have designated blue light emergency phones and call boxes located around campus that are a direct line to their campus safety office for anyone in distress. The Farmington campus has about 40 of these emergency phones that are in fixed locations and require regular maintenance.

However, UMF Safe puts this safety feature directly on a student’s personal cell phone that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Once engaged, the Mobile Blue Light will call Campus Police and the caller can provide their location and an officer will meet the caller and escort them safely to their destination on campus.

The app also makes it easy to access some of the most common support resources available to students, including Student Life, Facilities Management, Student Health Center, Mental Health Counseling Services and Information Technology.


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