Students tested the Bring A Buddy App, created to keep students safe when going out at night, for glitches during Homecoming weekend.
Jenna Furger, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point senior and the co-founder of the Bring A Buddy campaign, designed the app with the help of alumnus Drew Frisk, who now creates apps for Berkshire Hathaway.
The app works through the user’s Facebook account. Once logged in, users can add friends who have downloaded the app and connect to each others’ circles. They are able to locate friends on a map and keep track of when everyone arrives home safely.
“The testing went well, but we were only able to test it on a few small groups,” Furger said. “Now we are focusing on adding people to create larger groups, as well as creating multiple circles at the same time. We are also working with how the app will react when someone goes out of cell reception.”
The goal is that users will be less likely to stray away on their own.
“My goal professionally is to help people through technology,” Frisk said. “This app is a prime example of that goal. The idea of using technology to help people be safer is an exciting thought for me.”
This technology gives users a reliable resource when a designated driver is unavailable.
“It would definitely be an easier way to keep in contact with one another,” junior Grace LeVeque said. “I am in a sorority, so to have an app that would help us look out for each other is a really good idea.”
The app is mainly designed for Android phones, but the iPhone version is currently being developed. The app is not specific to UWSP; it will be available to anyone with a smartphone. The target release date is late October or November.
“Our immediate future work is focused on making sure the application is fully functional and will work in the environment that it will be used, hence our need for a solid group of users for beta testing,” Frisk
The Bring A Buddy campaign was created by Furger and the parents of Eric Duffey, a student who drowned in the Wisconsin River on the night of his 21st birthday in March 2012. Joan and Darren Duffey helped create the Bring A Buddy campaign in the hope that it will remind students to stay in groups and look out for one another.
“The future of this app looks great,” Furger said. “We have a lot more ideas to incorporate with public transportation routes and other ways of making this a great resource for a safer campus and community.”