“I think Grooop is the first safety app that is something that you would check every day like social media, but is also something that’s necessary and vital to a college student’s life to stay safe on campus,” Barnett said. “It’s so necessary, but also something that is not a burden.”
As the app furthered in its development, Barnett began hiring business ambassadors to assist with the production and marketing of Grooop.
Kennedy McGuinness, a sophomore and campus ambassador for the app, is in charge of hiring ambassadors for universities across the country. She said she wants the app to initially take off at UNC so that they can closely watch and manage it, but she hopes every major campus in the country will adopt it so that students can stay safe and secure while at school.
“Going off to college is a scary thing, and it is so different than being at home,” McGuinness said. “Parents put a lot of trust into sending their kids off, so we want Grooop to give a feeling of security to both parents and students. It is supposed to comfort them.”
Edward Wickham, a junior business major, started off working with Grooop in an advisory role, but has since been doing business development for the app. He said their team is working hard on user acquisition and feature updates to make Grooop more accessible to students.
“We have a few different integrations in place in terms of app features including different subsets of groups, and the way we form them within the app may change to make it more interpersonal, connected and socially oriented,” Wickham said. “It aggregates Find My Friends into a single, easy-to-use platform without the backlash of hyper-connectivity that we’ve seen in the millennial generation.”
Junior business major Wes Stroud said he likes the app because it is consistently convenient and user-friendly while effectively keeping people safe and aware at all times.
“What apps we already have, I don’t think are adequate to keep people safe, especially walking home at night,” Stroud said. “It’s pretty hard to pull out your phone and start calling people to let them know you’re safe. With Grooop, I like being able just to easily notify my friends and others in my group where I am and what my status is.”
Barnett and her team hope to continue improving the app through new business development strategies and user feedback.
Barnett said they hope to have some sort of impact on student safety across the country.
“I am super passionate about the success of Grooop, but I am more passionate about improving safety on campuses,” she said.