SURE Walk will release an iPhone and Android application, developed by computer science students, in January.
SURE Walk is a Student Government-sponsored organization made up of student volunteers who escort students, faculty and staff across campus on weeknights. SURE Walk director Leigh Larson said having an app would provide students with easy access to important safety and contact information.
“[The app] will automatically call or email SURE Walk or UTPD, as well as provide safety tips,” Larson said. “It also has a prescribed form on how to order a SURE Walk. It’s SURE Walk all-in-one instead of having to open Facebook and go to the page.”
Larson said the app has been in development since July. She hopes it will help increase the number of students who use SURE Walk, which currently sees about three to five callers a night.
“Over the summer, I was on my smart phone and [realized] I really want to incorporate an app for SURE Walk,” Larson said. “I wasn’t sure where to take it, so I just posted on the UT computer science Facebook wall.”
Larson said she has been in close contact with UTPD, who assisted in providing content — including safety tips — for the app.
“[The app] is not just about SURE Walk, it’s about safety in general,” Larson said.
Comyar Zaheri, president of the mobile app development organization, said he is one of about six individuals working on writing the app.
“Writing apps like this is sort of common for anyone in computer science — we always work on our own tech projects outside [of class] anyway,” Zaheri said. “I figured, why not do something that people at our school want to use and would find helpful, not just something for me?”
Zaheri will attend Hack TX, an event in which attendees spend 24 straight hours creating a software project, on Nov. 15. Zaheri said he plans to spend most of the 24 hours working on the app.
The app will be available for free on iTunes and Google Play once it is complete.
Spanish senior Megha Makanji said she can see the value of having a SURE Walk app.
“I think about [my safety] sometimes when I’m walking home,” Makanji said. “Having an application would be nice because I would know exactly where to go if I needed to, rather than having to search online.”