Laurentian University has launched a new smart-phone app in the hopes of improving security on campus.

It's called SECUR LU and it's offering a whole host of functions for students, staff and faculty at their fingertips.

Staff have been working with developers for more than a year to make the app happen and they're hoping to get 100 per cent engagement from the student body.

"We started working on ways to help the Laurentian community reach security in terms of panic, but also for us to be able to reach our community if we had some information about emergency procedures," said Gail Cowper-Benoit, manager of health and safety.

The app offers a variety of functions, including emergency contacts, a mobile blue light in which you can send your location to security in real-time in the event of an emergency, a friend-walk feature and a work alone function where, if you're working alone on campus, security will check in on you to make sure you're OK.

"We relaunched our emergency plan and updated it back in December 2019," said Cowper-Benoit. "This was done through a six-month process and a lot of consultation with our different groups and what came out of most of these consultations is how do we notify? How do we communicate this information?"

The app will allow them to notify all users in the event of emergency, or situations such as a building having to be shut down or a loss of power on campus.

"This app holds all of our emergency procedures, so if somebody wants to know what to do in the event of evacuation, it's there," she said. "It has muster points, it tells you the routes you should take to evacuate buildings so we thought this would be a great tool to communicate."

Met with praise

The app was met with praise from student groups, who said working alone on campus can be daunting.

Jade Dawson, president of the Graduate Students' Association, said many of their members work by themselves in remote parts of campus due to the nature of their work and COVID-distancing protocols.

"I'm excited to see how it's implemented on campus -- I think it has amazing potential to be beneficial, specifically for our graduate students," said Dawson.

"It's a really exciting thing, it kind of caught us off guard timing wise," said Eric Chappell, president of the Laurentian Students' General Association.

"But, you know, this is a project that's been in the works for years and I'm glad to see we're still moving forward even with the challenges of COIVD."

The app is available now for download in both Apple and Google Play stores.