Security Hoping to Increase Student Downloads for Pace Safe App


Screenshot by Katie Walsh

An inside look at some of the features that are available on the Pace Safe app homepage.

Katie Walsh, Managing Editor

If one scrolls through Pace Safety and Security’s social media pages, they’ll notice the recent giveaways and promotion for their new app, Pace Safe. 

The app was launched last September, three months after the initial contract signed last June. 

Safety Communications Manager Rosemary Hartofilis brainstormed the idea after her arrival from another university at this time last year. Hartofilis said that other universities around the country like NYU had already implemented the app, making it time for Pace to make the transition as well.

Hartofilis believes the app holds a tremendous amount of benefits to students, with the biggest benefit being the convenience of the app. Students have the ability to access emergency plans, report an incident, friend walk and utilize campus maps from the palm of their hands. Furthermore, access to these resources does not require a WiFi connection. 

In addition, students can use the app and its features across the country, as security states they are concerned with the safety of students, faculty and staff on and off-campus.     

Although the app seems to be set up for success to improve the safety of Pace students, staff and faculty, the amount of users on the app says otherwise.

1200 Pace students, staff and faculty have downloaded the app and have the push notification alerts sent to their phones. 1000 of these apps have been downloaded onto IPhones with the remaining 200 being downloaded onto Android products. However, there are 15,000 students across all of the universities’ campuses, revealing that not even a quarter of students have downloaded this tool. The 15,000 does not include faculty and staff that also have access and to the app.

Details about the split of downloads between campuses is unavailable, but Hartofilis says that this is the first safety and security app for students on the Pleasantville campus, whereas students on the New York City campus have other safety apps like Notify NYC to help them around the populated area of the “the city that never sleeps.” She hopes that this app will add to the safety of NYC and meet the needs of Westchester students. 

Hartofilis said their main goal right now is to increase their number of app downloads through promotion of the product.

They have their eyes set on student orientation and other upcoming events for incoming students, so that they can download the app before they even step foot onto the campus and begin classes next fall.

“We have been at ‘Accepted Students Days,’ and transfer students orientation. We have been pushing it there and we are trying to work with IT to get an icon with MyPace Portal App. It still would be a seperate app though,”  Hartofilis said. “We are also working with Orientation leaders on them mentioning downloading the Pace Safe app along with updating contact safety information during orientation.” 

Hartofilis said the app also eases a piece of mind for parents of college students.

“The fact that they see there is a Safety app and that they can also sign up for emergency notifications, and check out what’s on the app online [will help make the transition easier],” she said. “Just that we care about  student safety enough to purchase an entire app.” 

Furthermore, security is trying to get the word out to current students through social media contests, tabling events and speaking at various groups.

Freshman nursing major Sammy Silva Ortiz was unaware of the app, but said he would be interested in downloading it.

“I think that they can get their message across if they can do events at Kessel, that would help,” he said.

Ortiz also added that once students know about the app, they can spread the word around to other students on the campus.

Hartofilis said that security analytics showcases a spike in downloads after they present their app at an event, and expects this to continue to occur as they work towards reaching out to students.

Along with increasing the promotion to the app, security is working on increasing their staff presence so they can imitate another feature on the app, called the blue light system. This system is exactly the same as the physical blue lights that are around campus. However, they need a crew of dispatchers that will check the app and make it to the location right away.