Keeping Students Safe: SafeWalk and NUhelp

It’s night. You’ve stayed out way past your bedtime, and it’s a long, cold, dark walk back to your room. You prepare to step out of the building, but the inky night suddenly feels a lot more threatening than it did five minutes ago when you were still inside. Thinking about the walk you have ahead of you makes you shiver, or is that the chilling wind that just blew past?

A thought strikes you, and you go digging through your coat pockets for your phone. You were pretty sure there was an app or something… ah, yes, there it is. NUhelp. You pull it up and are greeted by the purple screen, but you blank on how to use it.

So what is NUhelp, and what does it do?

NUhelp is an app designed to help members of the Northwestern community navigate safety and wellness. Designed completely in-house by Northwestern employees, the app is available to all with access to Northwestern NetIDs and emails. It includes several features that are meant to help Northwestern students stay safe and healthy on campus. The most prominent feature of the app is the SafeWalk section.

SafeWalk helps reassure students who are walking back to their residences late at night and feel nervous. It’s another option besides calling a SafeRide or using the blue light system. You simply click on the SafeWalk feature in the NUhelp app, drop the little pin to your destination, and select a contact to inform in case you don’t reach your destination in the estimated time. Once you reach your destination, you can turn the text notification off. If you don’t reach your destination for whatever reason, SafeWalk will send a text to your contact with further instructions on trying to reach you and then contacting the police.

It’s important to note that SafeWalk cannot be used unless you have set up your Profile feature in the NUhelp app, which is a simple matter of entering your student ID, NetID, and Northwestern email into the app. Remember, the SafeWalk app doesn’t automatically turn off when you reach your destination. So, before you head straight for bed and crash, make sure to turn off the text notification before you accidentally start a campus-wide search. Note: SafeWalk will require access to your contacts and notifications. For more information on NUhelp’s disclaimers, visit their disclaimer information page.

For more details on how to use SafeWalk, visit this NUhelp page.

SafeWalk isn’t the only help that the NUhelp app offers. There is a Map feature that tells you the location of any buildings on Northwestern’s campus with a suggested walking route and walking time estimation. In the upper right hand corner, there is a “Nearby” option that, when clicked, has links to information about buildings on campus, the neighborhood desks, and more. Perhaps most importantly, the Map feature also has a list of local establishments with Wildcard Advantage: discounts given to Northwestern community members holding a Wildcard.

NUhelp and SafeWalk are both here to make you feel safe. Taking care of yourself and each other is incredibly important, and NUhelp is another resource to help do exactly that. Don’t be afraid to reach out, and stay safe.