We are what we consume

This week my mind has been swirling with thoughts of consumption (no, not TB; please don’t call me “Satine”).

Faced with the super-fun task of crafting a budget to pay down my credit card, I have been seeking ways to reduce my spending without sacrificing the quality of everything I put into and onto my body.

As most of you know—despite my unbreakable sweet tooth—I tend to be rather strict about what I eat and the types of products (personal hygiene, cosmetic, household cleaning, etc.) I use. I try to limit my exposure to harmful chemicals however I can. (Useful resource: the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database)

I am also devoted to raising awareness about climate change (if you are rolling your eyes here, please skip the rest of my blog post and instead check out theses informative, accessible webpages from NASA—or, finish reading and then check out the site).

On Wednesday, I tried to watch U.S. President Donald Trump’s first United Nations speech—I had only caught soundbites of it live. About halfway through, I paused, then closed the window on my laptop and decided to find something more productive to do with the remaining time I’d given myself to watch the speech.

Retrospectively, that shift was also reflecting a broader awareness of consumption that I have been gaining this week. The title of this post is “We are what we consume,” inspired by the timeless saying “we are what we eat.” However, in my journey to improve and refine my consumption habits, I am aiming to be mindful of more than just the food I eat and the products I buy; I am also striving to be incredibly mindful of what I am reading and watching daily.

After shutting down the president’s disconcerting speech (I’d already gotten the gist of it from my managing editor’s story; I already knew all I needed to, both as a citizen and a journalist, so watching it after the fact was just torturous), I opted for a few other videos:

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Lauren Singer of Trash is For Tossers | Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF72px2R3Hg

This isn’t the first of Lauren Singer’s videos I watched, but it’s the one I recommend as a starter. On her blog, Trash is for Tossers, Lauren shares her experiences living a “zero waste” lifestyle. All her trash from the past four years is in that mason jar she’s holding.

From Lauren, I learned about Bea Johnson, whom the New York Times has crowned the “Priestess of Waste-Free Living.” But instead of just reading a Times story, I also explored Bea’s website, Zero Waste Home, and watched her TED Talk:

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Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home | Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUmo-40pqA

I don’t think I will convert my lifestyle to fully mirror those of Lauren and Bea—at least, not yet. But from them, I am learning about how I can save money and produce less waste—which serves not only my bank account but also the planet. I hope to share some of that journey her as well as on my recently-switched-to-public Instagram account: @jess_corbett.

My first move was to buy food from the bulk section when I stopped at Whole Foods on Wednesday. I opted for their recyclable paper bags because I have not yet invested in the reusable ones, but I felt a sense of excitement when I came home and transferred my organic, unsalted almonds and dried mango slices into my glass containers. Baby steps.

Since I returned home from work last night, I have watched two additional documentaries. While they are not about zero waste living, they do align with my goals of mindfully consuming content, and giving more thought to what I do and do not need.

The first has been on my “to watch” list for ages, and I am so grateful I finally sat down to enjoy it. I watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix, as I put DVDs into a giant case and ripped apart their individual cases to recycle the paper parts.

The film stars two men who have made it their mission to launch a minimalist movement in America, and while they don’t overtly state that their goal is to acquire less so they produce less waste, their key points resonated with me. Among them, we are happier when we just invest in high-quality things we actually need, and “Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.”

This afternoon, as I shredded old bank statements, I watched a Netflix’s original documentary called Chasing Coral. Although it is heart-wrenching to see how climate change is impacting coral reefs around the globe, I was riveted. I encourage you to watch it until the end; you’ll be rewarded with an original song from Kristen Bell plus videos of baby sea turtles—and who doesn’t love baby sea turtles?

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Chasing Coral is available on Netflix.

The film also was not about living a zero waste lifestyle, but it motivated me to be more mindful of my consumption habits. Although we need to globally overhaul our energy systems to effectively combat climate change, seeing how the warming oceans are killing off massive swaths of beautiful coral reefs brought tears to my eyes. I also felt confident that watching the film fit with my goal of more mindfully consuming media content.

So far, this post has just been a list of suggestions for where you should seek information elsewhere; that’s because while I have tried for the past few years to prioritize mindfulness, this consumption component is still very new for me, and I don’t have too much to say about it just yet. I merely want to share these resources and invite you to send me any related/relevant suggestions.

Thanks for reading, and if you’re not bored of me yet, below I’m including a roundup of my recent articles for Common Dreams. 

xo, Jess

My recent articles—related and not to my comments above (read all my CD articles here)

#StopBetsy trends after our lovely Education Secretary takes a “horrific step back” on Title IX (aka the federal law barring sexual discrimination in schools)

Even all 50 state directors of Medicaid agree that Graham-Cassidy is terrible

EPA forces staff to attend anti-leak classes as Trump wages war on the planet

Two California cities sue Big Oil companies for their contributions to climate change

Surprise! Bill written by two male Republicans sucks for millions of women

Gun stocks surge as Trump pushes to ease export regulations for assault weapons

New poll reveals nearly half of Americans and 2/3rds of Democrats want a single-payer healthcare system implemented in the United States

New research released during UNGA reveals there are more than 40 million modern slaves worldwide—and many of them women and children

Progressive groups and lawmakers mobilize in response to Republicans’ last-ditch attempt to cut off millions of Americans from healthcare 

Conservationists are outrage after Zinke memo reveals the federal government’s unprecedented assault on public lands

Bolstering the case for a single-payer system, a new report shows how for-profit insurers are fueling America’s opioid crisis

“Spitting in the eye of transparency,’ the federal government reveals just 22 Mar-a-Lago visitors after promising to release full logs

The EU’s food safety watchdog is under fire for copying and pasting analysis from Monsanto into a Roundup safety report

As the United States reels from several natural disasters, 300+ groups endorse a sweeping climate bill

New research shows 10 percent of global GDP is hidden in tax havens while the world’s poorest people suffer

As Democrats and Trump bicker, Dreamers send a clear message: ‘No deal without us!’

In districts where Trump dominated, these Democrats delivered a stunning blow to the GOP in special elections

Trump gets shit for exploiting storm victims by pushing tax cuts for the wealthy amid disaster recovery

In a “groundbreaking” development, more than a dozen Democratic co-sponsors rush aboard Bernie’s Medicare for All train

After Hurricane Harvey, Texas is left with a toxic soup of shit, spilled Fuel, pesticides, and more

16 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Muslims are still central targets in war with no end

If humanity doesn’t turn back from climate abyss, says Pope, “we will go down”

Mueller warns the White House that he plans to interview six Trump aides

Inspired by Standing Rock, First Nations ‘Tiny House Warriors’ protest pipeline project

Citing climate change hoax, Rush Limbaugh downplayed Hurricane Irma, then evacuated

As Scotland vows 100% transition to electric cars, the U.S. caves to the auto industry’s dirty demands

As the planet rages with fires and storms, experts are fed us with murderous climate denialism

Study finds 83% of tap water around the globe tested positive for tiny plastic fibers

Abortion rights are under attack as Kentucky moves to close the state’s last open clinic

“This is about basic decency,” says Obama, denouncing Trump as the DACA decision sparks nationwide protest

“This is evil,” say immigrant rights advocates, blasting Trump’s decision to end DACA

More than 120,000 of “world’s most persecuted people” are fleeing violence in Myanmar

Trump’s ending of DACA will spark protests, lawsuits, and congressional battles

“No more road left” for diplomacy regarding North Korea, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley tells the United Nations Security Council

Analysis reveals Hurricane Harvey triggered the release of nearly a million pounds of toxic air pollutants

An “Impeach Donald Trump Now” Billboard goes up a mile from Mar-a-Lago

Trump warned: “If you end DACA, we will make your life impossible”

The sinister side effect of an amazing new cancer drug: one dose costs nearly $500K

Relief for immigrants as court blocks a “patently unconstitutional” law in Texas

As workers ditch Trump, AFL-CIO president says the White House is full of “racists” and “Wall Streeters”

UN Human Rights chief questions if Trump is fomenting violence against journalists

With a midnight deadline, activists begin a final push to thwart Trump’s attack on net neutrality

“Unprecedented” rainfall and “catastrophic” flooding devastate the Gulf Coast

A Charlottesville coalition will march 10 days to D.C. to confront white supremacy

Thousands of San Franciscans celebrate after a far-right group cancels their rally

Trump’s “pioneering” hurricane news dump fails to prevent controversy

“Law is dead in America”: presidential pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is widely condemned

Outside Trump’s White House, Dreamers vow to “fight like hell” to #DefendDACA

Defunding clinics, GOP governor “throws women under the bus” in South Carolina

Rightwing protesters to be welcomed in San Francisco… with piles of dog poop

100% renewable roadmaps for 139 nations reveal comprehensive path to fully sustainable system worldwide

Trump-allied firm slammed for $1 billion lawsuit against Standing Rock water protectors

Harvard study confirms #ExxonKnew and misled public about the climate threat for decades

Trump’s hint at pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio denounced as “an official endorsement of racism”

As Trump ramps up the War on Terror, U.S. bombings kill 170+ civilians in a week

Cleveland Browns football players kneel during the national anthem in the largest NFL racial justice protest yet

Treasury secretary’s wife provokes outrage with a classist tirade on Instagram

With Trump, warns Scahill, the “unelected national security apparatus” has been unleashed

Demanding a ban on killer robots, tech experts warn of opening “this pandora’s box”

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What ‘successful’ people do

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Me, enjoying The Great Outdoors, before the EPA and U.S. environmental regulations are fully done away with and the beauty of nature is destroyed (Photo credit: Ian Engel)

As I noted in a piece a couple of weeks ago, this post has been dwelling in my drafted email folder for quite some time. Whenever I considered publishing it, I found an excuse not to — I’m too busy with work; it’s missing something; do I really believe in what I’m writing?

There’s no denying I tend to seek out challenging — and thus often stressful — opportunities. I crave personal progress and whenever possible I give most of my energy to professional projects. When I did the final revision of this piece, I took on someone else’s full-time publicity job (she went to Thailand, and yes, I’m eternally envious) while also freelance fact-checking and working my part-time job. Some nights, I slept 3 hours; some meals, I skipped simply because I couldn’t stop working. I try to be an advocate for wellness, but exemplifying that — especially in my line of work, media — is tricky. But as I struggled to regulate my sleep and eat nutritious meals, I found myself thinking about what it means to be successful, and I returned to this drafted essay…

***
Forbes piece appeared in my Facebook feed last spring. At the time, I was working about 65 hours a week — half at a lefty national magazine; half at a luxury fitness club. I would roll out of bed at 4:30 AM to drag my sleepy self five blocks to the gym. Five hours later I’d speed walk back to my apartment with exactly 15 minutes to change, pack lunch, and brew a second cup of coffee. For five months, I hardly slept or socialized, and my body shut down. For weeks I battled sicknesses that built upon each other, until I found myself curled up in a Midtown CityMD waiting room, unable to work and in need of an antibiotic. I considered leaving the city when my lease ended last August. I spent much of my summer browsing housing sites. Twice, I had apartments fall through just as I was about to fork over hundreds of dollars for deposits. I finally found myself a new home — a spacious Crown Heights apartment with two wonderful roommates. I couldn’t be more grateful for the changes the late summer brought: a new apartment, a new job, fewer hours at the fitness club, and just a bit more time to socialize (read: sleep).
Although my new schedule allows more freedom, I keep coming back to the Forbes piece. I read “How Successful People Spend Their Weekends” on a Sunday night. At first glance, I was very excited; I figured it would offer some Thrive–esque advice about time, stress and/or money management. It didn’t necessary fail to do that, but I found myself repelled by its assumptions. I was drawn in by “successful” in the headline. Success is a concept I’ve been seriously grappling with for the past few years. But as I read through the Forbes cheat sheet for how to make better use of my weekend time and model myself after “successful” individuals, I grew frustrated because it didn’t apply to me or many people I know.
Some samples of my reactions:

#2 They Designate Mornings as Me Time. 
That sounds lovely, and since I stopped opening the fitness club, I’ve tried to do that more. Still, sometimes I have to send emails, make calls or run errands, because it’s the only time I can. But when I first read this piece, I was already rising before the sun. To have “me time” in the morning, I would’ve had to wake up between 2:00 and 3:00 AM. I was working so much to pay rent — and yet I couldn’t help but wonder, “Does working insane hours to pay my bills on time make me ‘unsuccessful’?” The folks at Forbes probably think so… but I saw it as responsible. I’d rather work extra hours than get evicted, acquire a ton of credit card debt, or have to call home to beg a parent for extra cash.

#4 They Pursue a Passion.
 I agree that “indulging your passions is a great way to escape stress and to open your mind to new ways of thinking.” It’s a key reason I try to work jobs about which I’m passionate during the week. On weekends, I clock in at the fitness club by 7:30 AM, and those shifts on Saturdays and Sundays allow me to maintain my membership, so I can work on weightlifting and attend yoga classes. The gym job is far from a dream position, but it allows me to pursue my passion for fitness, as well as stay healthy enough to spend weekdays on my primary passion: journalism. It’s fundamental to personal development to pursue passions, but if we designate only the weekends for our passion projects, it seems likely we’ll end up miserable the other five days of the week.

#6 They Minimize Chores. 
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I really hate household chores — but I must also confess to being a stress-cleaner who derives satisfaction from scrubbing floors and disinfecting all surfaces in sight. My journalism job (or “jobs,” since my main gig is freelance and I often work for multiple outlets simultaneously) can keep me at the office late. The hours are unpredictable and when I add that to my attempt to exercise regularly, I don’t spend much time at my apartment. I can occasionally squeeze in some late-night laundry, or vacuum on an afternoon off, but I tend to dedicate one of my weekend afternoons to cleaning, because I like the tidy space and that’s when I have the time.

I am only 23 years old; I have many, many more years in the work force, and I plan to continue working jobs about which I’m passionate. I still struggle with whether I’d call myself “successful,” but I care deeply about the work I do and try to make sure each task aligns with my career goals and personal values. The Forbes list reads to me like advice for people who hate their day-jobs and only tend to their passions (and mental states) on the weekends…but rather than success, I see that as failure. Success should mean pursuing your passions (and finding a way to make a livable profit from that), rather than putting off passions until the two days per week a ‘successful’ person does ‘me time.’ Sure, sometimes I go weeks without a full day off…but when you (mostly) enjoy and believe in what you do for money, you don’t have to reserve your weekends to recover from your miserable day-to-day life. You end up living for more than the weekends; you end up living for every day you get to wake up and take on your next challenge.

(NB: I would like to note that my ability — especially at my age — to pursue a career about which I am passionate has been made possible in part by my white privilege + middle-class suburban upbringing, and the educational and networking opportunities provided to me because of that…in addition to a lot of all-nighters, many missed meals and excessively high stress levels.)

Groton High School reacts to football team hazing scandal

By Jessica Corbett and Mary Kielar

Two football players at Groton High School recently pleaded guilty to hazing charges. (Photo by Jessica Corbett)

Two football players at Groton High School recently pleaded guilty to hazing charges. (Photo by Jessica Corbett)

Two students on the Groton High School football team pleaded guilty on Oct. 31 to first-degree harassment, a misdemeanor, following hazing allegations.

The Groton’s students sentencing will take place over the next six to eight weeks and will be handled by Town Justice Arthur Dewey Dawson. In response to the controversy, the high school administration is making changes to its athletic code.

Of the 14.7 million U.S. high school students, approximately 1.5 million — or nearly 10 percent — experience hazing each year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education and an Alfred University study.

Click the image above to view a video report from Groton High School.

Click the image above to view a video report from Groton High School.

Groton High School is responding to the allegations with a multi-step plan, Billie Downs, associate principal and athletic director, said. He said the plan includes: hazing prevention presentations with Travis Apgar, the dean of students at Cornell University, which will be presented to parents and coaches; student-athlete workshops on leadership and positive team building; increased supervision in locker rooms; and DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) in-house training for coaches. DASA is New York State legislation that seeks to provide students with a safe learning environment free of discrimination and harassment, and went into effect July 2012.

“We hope to create a culture where kids watch out for other kids so that the few offenders can be dealt with quickly and the school will be safer for all,” James Abrams, superintendent of the Groton School District, said. “Our students want the same type of culture that we do, but sometimes lack the courage or the avenue for reporting violations.”

Abrams has a hands-on role in the district’s plans for preventing this type of behavior among students in the future.

“We are a small school district. The superintendent has always worked closely with all departments,” he said.

Click the image above to view an interactive graphic.

Click the image above to view an interactive graphic.

Cheltenham High School, in Montgomery County, the suburbs of Philadelphia, recently experienced its own hazing scandal involving its boys’ soccer team. The district notified police and conducted an internal investigation in response to September hazing allegations, but the team was allowed to finish out its season, which ended Oct. 16.

“I think this is a wakeup call for a lot of school districts across the country,” Susan O’Grady, director of communications and development at Cheltenham School District, said. “It’s time for us to look at how athletic programs are run. We are looking at all of our anti-bullying programs that are in the classroom and how those can intersect with and cross over with the educational training that we are now going to supplant into and supplement with what’s already there into our athletic program.”

Sayreville War Memorial High School in Sayreville, New Jersey, had its football season canceled last month following hazing allegations against seven football players who are now facing sex-crime charges. The district declined Ithaca Week’s requests for comment, but Superintendent Richard Labbe released a statement in response to the allegations that is no longer available on the district website. According to the statement: “The district administration has already launched a holistic harassment intimidation and bullying (HIB) investigation of all athletic and extracurricular programs in order to ensure that we take all steps necessary now and in the future to protect all our students.”

Click here to view a video report from Groton High School.

Read this story on Ithaca Week.

Cornell’s new major reflects technology innovation in global & public health

By Jessica Corbett and TinaMarie Craven

Robert Parker was part of the team that proposed Cornell's new major. (Photo by Jessica Corbett)

Robert Parker was part of the team that proposed Cornell’s new major. (Photo by Jessica Corbett) Click the photo above to view a slideshow.

Cornell University launched a Global and Public Health major this semester in response to student demand and demonstrated interest in its minor program, Robert Parker, director of undergraduate studies for Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences, said.

Parker noted a trend among higher education institutions developing similar programs, and said examination of peer programs was a key part of developing Cornell’s Global and Public Health major, which was proposed by the Division of Natural Sciences. Public health typically refers to domestic population health, while global health is applied beyond the U.S., Parker said.

“Our program is designed to encompass both of those scenarios,” Parker said, “Our intent is to weave both domestic and international issues, whenever possible, throughout the entire curriculum.”

Growing interest in this field isn’t contained to university students. TechChange, a D.C.-based startup launched in 2010, provides online technology training for agents of social change. Members of the global and public health field are part of their target audience for course offerings.

Beginning Nov. 17, TechChange will offer its most popular course, “mHealth – Mobile Phones for Public Health,” which coincides with the 2014 mHealth Summit and Global Health Forum in D.C.

Nick Martin, CEO and founder of TechChange, said increased cell phone and Internet availability has changed how health issues can be approached globally.

“We look at things like patient adherence — getting people to take their pills by getting SMS reminders, to remote monitoring — being able to attach the phone to things like censors, to do diagnostic tests, those kinds of things,” Martin said. “Also, for frontline healthcare workers, in most of the world, a number of countries, people don’t have regular to access to hospitals and doctors with health care facilities.”

Cornell’s program focuses on building a deep understanding of both natural and behavioral sciences, combined with a mandatory ‘real-world’ experiential learning course, Parker said. Course requirements range from biochemistry and psychology, to courses on statistics and epidemiology, or the study of the spread of disease.

Click the slide above to view a slideshow for this story.

Click the slide above to view a slideshow for this story.

Parker said one of the reasons mobile technology offers so much opportunity in this field is that transcends limitations of physical infrastructure.

“One of the challenges, often, particularly in resource-poor communities is trying to figure out what’s happening.  And yet as access to mobile devices explodes around the world, it’s becoming a two-way street,” Parker said. “Innovations in technology that transcend traditional infrastructure are opening up lots of new opportunities—both to acquire information about the nature of communities and to effect change in those communities.”

The internet and media are making the public more aware of current health issues Rebecca Stoltzfus, director of the global health minor, said.

“Students find these problems disturbing and compelling, and they want to see how their education can make a difference in people’s lives and can close a gap on some of the big global health inequities that exist in the world,” Stoltzfus said.

Danielle Corona, a biology major and global health minor, conducted her fieldwork in Peru, where she worked to encourage Peruvian women to immunize their children. Vaccine bracelets acted as a physical reminder for mothers, which Corona said was helpful because the bracelet made it easier to bridge literacy and linguistic gaps.

Corona said the program allows students to expand their understandings of health by studying health issues from a broader mindset.

“With Ebola, we have something that’s starting in a small developing country, but it has the potential to spread to other countries and we need to understand how we can deal with issues that are serious,” Corona said. “Globalization is a real thing. We have to know how to deal with health threats around the world, whether it is a small village in Thailand or a main city in America.”

Click here to view a slideshow for this story.

Cornell University students design free smartphone apps for college life

Cornell University senior Emma Court demonstrates how to use ResCUer, an iPhone app that provides Cornell students with easier access to transportation and emergency services, which Court helped develop and market. (Photo by Jessica Corbett)

Cornell University senior Emma Court demonstrates how to use ResCUer, an iPhone app that provides Cornell students with easier access to transportation and emergency services, which Court helped develop and market. (Photo by Jessica Corbett)

CUAgenda and ResCUer, two free, recently released student-designed iPhone apps created specifically by and for Cornell University students, show a growing interest in app development among college students.

Although neither CUAgenda nor ResCUer were designed in the classroom, at least five schools in New York State offer new courses or programs in which students can learn mobile app development. 

On August 17, Cornell sophomore Dennis Fedorko launched CUAgenda, an app that brings course scheduling to the fingertips.

“I just wanted to make something that had to do with technology, and something that everyone at Cornell could use,” he said, “so I started fiddling with the idea of making a scheduling app, because I knew all of the previous ones weren’t that good.”

Fedorko decided to make a free mobile alternative to online scheduling programs like Schedulizer and Chequerd, and taught himself how to code for iOS over the summer.

The student reaction to CUAgenda, which is only for Cornell students, has been primarily positive.

CUAgenda user Gaby Haam said she has been very happy with her experience.

“A feature which is particularly well designed is the schedule builder,” she said, “which has an interface similar to that of Chequerd, where classes are added and can be dragged to the appropriate time slots.”

“I thought it’d be worth not having to log into student center constantly to remind myself where I needed to be next,” CUAgenda user Michael Truhlar said.

Truhlar’s experience with CUAgenda has been one of ups and downs because of a few kinks, which Fedorko said he hopes to address through app updates.

Both concept art and the cherry blossom tree by Cornell’s clock tower inspired CUAgenda’s main screen design, Fedorko said. From the main page, users can access services such as Schedule Builder, Pre Enroll, Courses and Daily Schedule, which erases itself at the end of each day.

Fedorko said the iPhone version of CUAgenda has been downloaded about 2,000 times, and although there is no Android version yet, it is definitely something he wants to pursue. 

Before CUAgenda, a team of five Cornell students launched a safety app called ResCUer, which allows users quicker access to transportation and emergency services.

It all started on a napkin in Trillium food court at Cornell University in October of 2012, according to Matthew Laks, who is now a senior at Cornell. Laks and a few friends had gathered to eat lunch and discuss their plans for entering an entrepreneur competition at Cornell.

“We saw binge drinking being a huge problem, hookup culture leading to a lot of really unsafe conditions, so we were thinking about how we could help combat that,” Emma Court, a senior at Cornell who primarily worked with app outreach, said.

“We realized that there were a lot of important safety resources that the students really weren’t using and we wondered if it was because they didn’t have a ready access to them, so that’s how the idea for ResCUer came about,” she said.

The ResCUer team included Laks, Court, app developer Josh Krongelb—who, like Fedorko, taught himself to code—and Cornell graduates Matthew Joe and Anisha Chopra.

Today, the iPhone version of ResCUer has been downloaded about 1,500 times, Krongelb said. An Android version is also available. 

Even orientation leaders encourage students to download the app, Laks said, so they see “a huge surge” of downloads during freshman orientation weeks.

The free app allows users to select GET HELP—via Police, Ambulance, Gannett, RA On Call or Blue Light—or GO HOME, which directs to buttons labeled Taxi, Call a Friend or Blue Light.

Local police have told them that students are calling in with ResCUer, Laks said.

“People are using it, and it saves that critical time of Googling for a phone number,” he said.

The ResCUer team doesn’t just promote their app—they also use it.

Last Winter, Court said she was walking around West Campus and came across a young woman who was barefoot and without a coat. She was “on the floor, crying and she didn’t know her name,” Court said. She used ResCUer to call EMS, then stayed with the woman until helped arrived.

Both Fedorko and the ResCUer team said they could potentially see a place for their apps at other colleges and universities, but they don’t have any plans to expand just yet.