Category Archives: SafeCampus

SafeCampus Spring Semester Week 2

This week we drafted a new plan about how to move forward.  Our team got a little bit smaller, so our biggest challenge was trying to figure out the best way to move forward with the project.  We came up with a solution and feel as though we have a strong plan to continue progressing.  We have decided to focus on the online survey that we drafted last semester.  Our goal is to edit it and create a list of contacts that we will send it out to.  We have also discussed what would be the best way to contain and save the data that comes through from the survey.

We also presented our project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society Luncheon.  We received many questions and suggestions about the status of the app’s development, people to get in contact with, incentivizing it and privacy issues.


SafeCampus Second Semester Introduction

SaferCampus is back this semester, with the goal of finally producing and unveiling our app.

Last semester, our team worked to develop the interface of  mobile app that can educate Harvard students about bystander intervention and encourage active bystander behavior. The plan we came up with involves allowing students to check in with a selected group of friends while they are out (at parties or walking around campus), and release calls for help during dire circumstances. Using an incentive system, the app (tentatively called “Bonobo”) would encourage students to practice active bystander behavior, thus putting the responsibility not just on the survivor of harassment, but on the entire community.

Looking forward, our goal is to further streamline the visualization of our app, so that we can effectively use the 10 hours of developer time that Berkman has allotted us this semester. To help us in this project, we are looking to work with a professor in computer science to advise us on feasibility of aspects of our project.

Additionally, our group is currently applying for the a grant from the president’s office in order to fund extra developer time during this semester.



SafeCampus — After the Midterm Review

Midterm Review Reflections & Updates

What We Did

At the midterm review we presented our main ideas, concerns and roadblocks, as well as a schematic of the app. In addition, we are continuing to work on differentiating ourselves from other competitor apps in the market.

What Went Well

It was great to see that people were reacting positively to the general idea of the app and recognized its importance, especially with the growing momentum behind issues regarding sexual assault.

What was challenging

The concept of bystander intervention is very powerful and a main message of how this app will work. The app won’t be able to fix issues unless people using the app take the initiative and step in. People may struggle with the perceived limited scope of the app, in say a party setting. However, we need to convey to our audience that this app is widely applicable in its usage as a check-in/emergency contact app.

What’s Up Next

 Meeting with more student groups, including final clubs and Greek life, and plan out surveys and focus groups to help streamline the functionality of the app. We are working on creating a minimally viable product to display the basic functionality of the app that we have agreed upon and will seek feedback from various members of the Harvard community.

SafeCampus Meeting Update—Prepping for the Mid-Semester Review


  1. Tez spoke to contacts in final clubs; they are willing to give us some feedback about the app. We want to do a focus group in about a month, when we have more information to present. The tentative date is November 16, Sunday.
  2. We want to have another focus group for more aware or passionate individuals (such as CAARE)
  3. Jen knows people in GradSAGE and Our Harvard Can Do Better who can support this app. Also good to consider the UC for sponsorship.

We have a review of the app with the Berkman team on Wednesday, October 22. Want to give a wide variety of options so that there are a lot of places for feedback.

Current Outline

Biggest concerns:

  1. False positive. You can put your phone in your purse and forget about it and then the possibility crying wolf happens. There is about half an hour at most when you are not holding on to your back or your phone. Most people are checking their phones constantly, so at least in college culture this might be less of a problem.  But we definitely want to emphasize that people should set how long they have between check ins. Focus should be less on asking for help and more on bystander intervention.
  2. Need a large community buy-in for the bystander intervention effect to work. This is why we need the big ad campaign.
  3. Abuse of the app. Issues of predators using the app to find vulnerable people. Also limiting the app to someone who has an HUID or a .edu account.


  1. Check-in and alerting that you have an emergency
    1. Duration of time between missed check-in and sending an alert
    2. Who the alert is sent to—friends, proximal people, or mix of both
    3. Privacy/how long the information is kept
  2. Walking
    1. Privacy/how long the information is kept
  3. Database/FAQ/Tips
    1. Phone numbers of BARCC, OSAPR, HUPD, etc.
    2. Tips for how to be a good bystander (see NightOwl app from CMU)
  4. Adding brownie points
    1. Supports/Encourages bystander intervention
    2. Allows easy way to rank friends (know who you will help you when you need it)

Geared toward:

College campuses, starting with Harvard

Graduate students might use it when walking on

Technical concerns:

What platform should we make it in (iOS, Android?)

Concerns about GPS—will it drain the phone battery? Selective GPS?

Designing a prototype (Flinto) — getting a subscription for that?

Designing a media package:

Prof. Rosenfeld would be a good resource here, given her conenctions

Video? Ad campaign?

Might be nice to have something ready by the next school year to add to orientation

To Do

Tez, Alina, and Ana will go to the Mid-Semester Review on Wednesday.

Tez will get back to final club people, thanking them for their interest and letting them know about the date.

Jen can create a few more visuals of what the product will look like.

Everyone should add to the Google form that Tez shared with the group last week. We aim to send out the survey out to people within the next two weeks, before the focus groups.

Project Proposal, SafeCampus

This week we met with Professor Rosenfeld for the first time. We discussed our plans for the project thus far and got feedback from Professor Rosenfeld about how she thought we could improve and expand upon our ideas. The idea as a whole has been received positively and we are now trying to firm up exactly we want the app to do. Some new ideas that we have explored include creating a network of women who use the app in order to expand the potential bystander intervention in a possibly dangerous situation. We are very excited about promoting this app more as a bystander intervention app in addition to having a few friends who you can add to be further responsible for keeping tabs on your whereabouts.

Some challenges we certainly face are finding the balance between the safety and the privacy of the users of the app and not draining the phone battery due to extensive background GPS usage. Our next steps include firming up the flow of the app and its exact product design with regards to how to add friends and how extended the network of bystanders should be. In addition, we intend to solidify the name, as we have explored using the bonobos, as per Professor Rosenfeld’s research, as a symbol for our network. We also plan on entering challenges this semester and potentially hackathons to help kick start our programming efforts. We are hoping to accomplish a working prototype of the application by the end of the semester and continue it into beta testing for the following semester.

SafeCampus, 2

mock ups_CONTACTS_after AI mock ups_CHATS_after AI

Our group met again last Thursday for a second brainstorming session. We decided to make a list of features we want to see in our app, and what would be bonus features. The key features that we could not live without are -Adding friends to the app; making it social -Different levels of friends—emergency contacts (this has to be a mutual decision because you want trust your emergency people) -Tracking a person doing GPS location -JQuery Mobile ( and a web pull (so whoever would need to program HTML) -Set your location and share location with a specific group of people you trust -Potential to add specific information (what you’re wearing, the specific room you’re in), sort of like a Facebook status -Choose different groups for privacy purposes (close friends, people within 500 ft, people with in x area, etc.) -Adding point system to incentivize bystander intervention (add stickers) -Somehow linking profile to phone numbers in order not to over add someone -Integrate HUPD escort service in the app The current framework looks something like this: Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 3.09.02 PM

We are still looking for programmers, which is a big challenge. Our goal is to integrate more with other groups in the University in order to share information, as well as get some funding. Tentatively, we are thinking of using funding to reimburse student programmers for their time. More to come soon!

SafeCampus Kickoff

Hello, World!

My name is Tez Clark, and along with Alina Ranjbaran I am leading SafeCampus, the DPSI on preventing sexual assault. We’re excited to share our work with you over the coming months—look forward to our updates!

The Team

Alina Ranjbaran (College)

Tez Clark Tokyo, Japan (College)
I’m passionate about empowering students of all genders to bring an end to sexual violence.

Ana Maria Quirós (GSD)

Jen Krava Minneapolis, MN (GSD)
I’m interested in how we can network and create environments that act in our defense.

Julia Lee (College)

This Week at SafeCampus

What We Worked On

In the past week, we have gotten a chance to meet twice with our group, and were lucky to see our number grow between the first and second meeting! We discussed the direction that we would like to take the project, and technologies that currently exist that we could use as precedents. The current plan is to create an app that increases bystander awareness around campus and encourages friends and peers to check in on each other. Preventing sexual assault is something that everyone in the Harvard University community can get behind. For inspiration, we looked at the Harvard University app, talked about Google maps, and the mapping technology involved in apps like Grinder, that show the user a digital network of people surrounding them in real time. Since we want to encourage awareness all over the Harvard community, it is key for the app to be engaging and easy to use. We are lucky to have two students from the GSD (Graduate School of Design) on our team to streamline the user interface. In our meeting we brainstormed ways to make the app more engaging to university students, such as by allowing users to add friends and get points for checking in on them.

What Went Well

We were able to decide on the type of app that we would like to create, and determined that it would be as pro-active as possible. We moved quickly through these ideas and had great discussion about things that we would like to see the app do. There are many apps that currently exist from where we can draw inspiration, but none of theses apps perfectly fits the unique Harvard environment. We are excited to develop our project further and fill this niche. Everyone in our group comes from different backgrounds, and everyone brings something unique to the table. 

What Was Challenging

The level of detail that we need to drill down to, and the various scenarios that this app could apply to, as well as being cognizant of privacy issues are challenges. We also discussed adoption/support of the app by various university groups and if/how we begin to do that. We plan to reach out to other organizations on campus to discuss who they would like to see the app develop. Another challenge is that we do not have anyone on the team that is experienced in the actual building of an app. We are still looking for app programmers, especially those who are passionate about this subject matter. Ultimately, we want this to be an app that draws from the diversity and knowledge of Harvard as a whole.

What’s Up Next

We have talked about figuring out what we would like the app to look like, working through some of the details as to how it will be used, and determining various functions of it. We are still looking for additional programmers. If interested, please contact team co-leader Tez Clark at <>