Flu prevention is vital

By Sage Green

The Monroe County Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of nine flu-related deaths in Monroe County so far this season, while there have been as many as 2,236 confirmed cases of the flu in the county as of January 27.

An email was sent out to The College at Brockport students and faculty warning about the increase of cases and what symptoms to look for. Symptoms of the flu include: fever above 100°F, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The Hazen Center for Integrated Care at Brockport has reported a significant increase in cases of the flu in the past month. Lynne Maier, the Clinic Coordinator of Hazen Health Center, has seen approximately 40 students come into Hazen with the flu.

“The flu shot is the number one way we recommend for students to prevent the flu,” Maier said. “Our second recommendation is washing your hands. When you’re around campus, think about how many people have touched the same surface that you may be touching. We strongly encourage students to be almost obsessive about washing their hands.”

Junior nursing student Jensine Nguyen has taken these recommendations to heart.

“I am constantly washing my hands,” Nguyen said. “With everything I’ve seen on the news about the flu it’s pretty serious this year, and you can never be too safe.”

Though it may be difficult for college students to focus on their health when they have other things they need to worry about, it is still important to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night and to eat healthy. College students are often compared to a candle burning at both ends; however they need to remember that their health should be a top priority.

“What students need to do is look for warning signs,” Maier said. “If anyone is having difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in their chest, excessive vomiting, or dizziness, we advise them to go to the hospital immediately.”

Students have been fearful of the flu because of what they have seen on the news over the past months. With the recent talk of deaths caused by the flu, students are doing their best to prevent it.

Maier also suggested ways that students who already have the flu can find a sense of relief.

“They need rest and fluids most importantly,” Maier said. “And they also need to treat the symptoms. So if they have a cough, take cough medicine. If they are congested, take a decongestant. Advil and ibuprofen help as well.”  

The college has also put together something they call “meal slips” where students in resident halls who have the flu can contact their Resident Director or Resident Assistant to have food from the dining hall delivered to them.

Students across campus are taking flu season seriously this year. And during this time where illness is spreading, it is crucial for everyone to stay on top of their health.

Photo courtesy of morgue.com

Taste of Soul brings southern charm to Brockport

By Adam Simmons

taste of soul
Taste Of Soul can be found on Main Street in Brockport.

The Village of Brockport introduced a new restaurant on Dec. 6, 2017, called Taste of Soul. Taste of Soul is a small but family-oriented restaurant specializing in southern fried chicken, buffalo wings, ribs, fish and other popular southern dishes. Timothy Lee, owner of the new establishment, has always carried a love for cooking and is finally pursuing his passion at 77 Main St. in Brockport.

 We had the pleasure of speaking to general manager, Keri Frank, who had only optimistic things to say about this new business.  

“Timothy Lee, our owner, grew up in Alabama and always had the goal of opening a restaurant,” Frank said. “ Eventually he moved to the Brockport area to be closer with his family.  Driving down Main Street one day he saw the location for sale and put it all into action.”

Many businesses in Brockport thrive thanks in part to being so close to The College at Brockport community when classes are in session.

“A huge reason as to why many students love Taste of Soul is because of our vegan menu,” Keri Frank said. “When many think of a restaurant specializing in southern fried chicken and other foods of that nature, they don’t expect a vegan menu which has gravitated many.”

Since its opening, the restaurant has experienced a constant flow of customers. The Daley family had nothing but positive things to say after enjoying dinner at Taste of Soul. 

“The service here is phenomenal,” Michael Daley said. “Not nearly enough places surrounding the area have southern fried chicken, especially this good. We like how family friendly the place is.”

“Every time we walk through the doors we’re immediately greeted with a hello from an employee,” Erin Daley said.  

Taste of Soul is slowly but surely leaving its mark on Main Street and the village as a whole. As it works to become an established business in the village, the potential for it to become a staple of the community seems infinite.

New Year, new me

By Brandon Costolnick


When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, people all around the country rejoice and embrace as they celebrate the coming of a new year.  For many, there are high hopes that this year will be better than the last and that they will grow and change for the better. New Year’s resolutions are set with this particular goal in mind.  Now that time has passed we thought it would be a good idea to check in with a few students enrolled at The College at Brockport to see if they were able to keep their promises to themselves.

Brockport junior, Catherine Mattis, is no stranger to the “New Year, new me” philosophy. She has been setting New Year’s resolutions for years now. Each year she has looked to improve herself in a different way, and this time it’s through positivity.

“My Resolution was to be more positive,” Mattis said. “I am a big fan of positive psychology. I believe that if you put good into the world then you get good out of it.”

However, this isn’t a traditional resolution. Usually when someone makes a New Year’s resolution it is about measurable things like losing weight or making more money. Mattis explained that her more philosophical approach makes for a more beneficial promise.

“In the past those haven’t worked for me, but this positivity ties into all of that,” Mattis said. “I’m definitely a much happier person now then I was a semester ago.”

Someone who shares Mattis’s ideas is fellow junior, Matthew Fritschi.  His resolution was also to be more positive, but he achieved a very different outcome.

“I was trying to be more positive but honestly I forgot about it until right now,” Fritschi said. “I guess I just didn’t put enough effort into it and have been focusing on other things like school instead.”

Fritschi attributed some of his downfall to the fact that you can’t measure being positive.  Positivity is an emotion and can easily be forgotten.

“If it was something more tangible then I may have gone after it a little bit more because there is a goal for me to follow,” Fritschi said. “ I probably still wouldn’t have succeeded but the effort would have been different.”

Not everyone decides to take part in the yearly ritual. For some the making of New Year’s resolutions seems trivial, for others it’s simply too hard. Junior Sam Welkley weighed in on why he chose not to participate this year.

“You can start doing something new at any point during the year,” Welkley said. “You don’t need a new year to improve yourself. However, if people want to rally around this specific day then I fully support them.”

Whether you are still true to your resolution or have fallen short, every day brings a new chance to not only better yourself, but the world around you.

Brockport students given sweet advice from rising entrepreneur

By: Justin Sullivan

Career Services at The College at Brockport treated students, staff and community members to an evening with a well-known alumna. Baker, author and entrepreneur, Heather Saffer ‘10 spoke on how to start up a business as part of the Brockport’s Celebrating Entrepreneurship Series.

While Saffer, 33 is most recognized for her “better-for-you sweet snacks” company, Dollop Gourmet; Saffer’s appearance on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and ABC’s “Shark Tank” made her a household name and well-known rising CEO.

I realized that my true passion wasn’t for the cupcake itself, but for the decadent topping that cupcakes were designed to deliver. So I sold my stores to focus on my true love, my favorite food—frosting,” Saffer said.

Prior to her appearance on the small screen, Saffer graduated from The College at Brockport with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In 2009, Saffer was working at a car dealership when she decided to open her own bakery in Upstate, New York.

“I aligned myself with the wrong people,” Saffer said.

Saffer’s first business was quickly dissolved, resulting in a loss of $20,000- Saffer’s life savings at the time. The story was depicted in her May 2016 episode of “Shark Tank” where she received a bid from businesswoman, Barbara Corcoran.

Since 2009, “Shark Tank” tells the story of budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition in this reality. In the show, entrepreneurs compete for bids or “bites” from entrepreneurs, more commonly known as the “sharks.”

As Saffer explained, what makes her company, Dollop Gourmet different is its vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO qualities.

“Discover what you want to do and actually do it,” Saffer said. “Every time you have an idea, someone, somewhere else has the same idea.”

The Dollop Gourmet line of frosting is currently sold in hundreds of major retailers nationwide, such as Wegmans, HEB, Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme and Hy-Vee. According to the company’s website, the line has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network and in People Magazine.

“Publicity is huge, you can’t undermine publicity,” Saffer said. “If you ever get the opportunity to do a show or at least audition for a show- do it.”

In addition to her business, Saffer authored her first cookbook, an Amazon Bestseller, The Dollop Book of Frosting through Adams/F+W Media in 2013. Heather’s second cookbook, Very Easy Vegan Desserts is set to be released by Sterling Publishing in spring 2018.

Saffer’s book deal is what she considers her biggest accomplishment as a businesswoman.

“I have thrown all of me in my business,” Saffer said. “I have forgone relationships and businesses to make my business grow.”

During her time back her alma mater, Saffer stressed the importance of working with your manufacturer and receiving customer feedback. When asked what her greatest tip for aspiring entrepreneurs was- Saffer admitted the importance of research and perseverance.

“There is always going to be production issues, there is always going to be something that goes wrong,” Saffer admitted. “It is the nature of the business.”


What a Wonder it is! Review on “Wonder of the World”

By Vanessa Ryland-Buntley

“Wonder of the World” by David Lindsay-Abaire was brought to the stage at The College at Brockport’s Mainstage in the Tower Fine Art’s building the last two weekends in April 2017. The play which was directed by Ruth Childs, Associate Professor at The College at Brockport, was a comedy brought to life by a vibrant cast of eight people.

The story focused on the life of Cass played by Tricia Plinzke. She ends up leaving her husband Kip, played by Cody Kaminska, to do all the things she never got to check off of her list and runs into her zany, eventual side-kick Lois, played by Brigette Meskell.  Cass is trying to start a new life and Lois is trying to end hers and they end up mingling their sordid, funny backstories with a few people they meet at the look-out point in Niagara Falls.

The play had everything a good movie would have, suspense, action, comedy, love, death and even strange fetishes.  Because the comedic timing seemed to be almost always on point, I almost forgot that a death happened.  The twist, the death happened to the person not trying to die.

Plinzke’s infectious personality had me rooting for the end of her marriage and the beginning of her happiness even though Kip seemed to love her. The opening scene started with a clip of Marilyn Monroe in her film Niagara and it was hard not to draw parallels to Plinzke and Monroe throughout the play.

She kept her bubbly personality through most of the play which made for an amazing pairing between her and the drunk and depressed Lois.  Meskell did a wonderful job of pairing her physical comedy with her phenomenal stage presence. The two along with the other crazy characters brought the play to life. Karla and Glen played by Grace Cunningham and Jake Dion were tourists/private investigators hired by Kip to find Cass. In their journey to find her, they found out how small the world was. This play was a perfect way to end the Mainstage season for the spring.  Even though the play almost ended in tragedy because Cass’s love interest, Captain Mike, played by Steven Penta, was abruptly shot near the end; it ended up having a happy ending. Lois and Cass went over the falls in a barrel together but lived to tell it, all while checking things off of Cass’s to-do list.

Islam, Not ISIS

By Breonnah Colon

There is a tragedy taking place within the world and it is not getting very much media coverage, therefore many people are unaware of it. There is a genocide taking place in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The country is located on the border of five others: India, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand and China. As a result of its geological location, the population of Myanmar is quite diverse, however, there is still a minority group within the nation- the Rohingya people. The Rohingya people are Muslim and practice Islam as their religion. It is this religious practice that is causing the Rohingya people to be targeted by the military of Myanmar since the religion followed by most people in the country is a form of Buddhism.

New sources such as CNN and BBC News have been covering stories on the genocide occasionally, however, the circumstances facing the Rohingya people have been taking place for as long as four years. In the year of 2012, Myanmar experienced a sort of civil war where an article on cnn.com entitles “Is genocide unfolding in Myanmar?” by Matthew Smith explained, “Buddhist civilians and state security forces unleashed coordinated attacks against Rohingya and other Muslims. I documented pre-dawn raids and cold-blooded massacres.”

A lot of people are still at risk, especially children.

The article went on to state, “Children were hacked to death. Some were thrown into fires.” While the violence facing the Rohingya may have diminished over the past few years, it seems tensions are once again rising and the victims are the Rohingya people.

How could such a thing take place without anyone intervening? Well, whether or not an actual genocide is taking place has been quite a controversial topic, especially since the current leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi denies there is a genocide taking place, despite people referring to the horrendous acts against the Rohingya people can be equated to an ethnic cleansing. An article on bbc.com entitled “Myanmar says ‘no evidence’ of Rohingya genocide” explained, “(The government in Myanmar) dismissed allegations of genocide on the basis that there are still Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine and that Islamic religious buildings have not been destroyed. It said it had so far found ‘insufficient evidence’ that anyone had been raped by security forces, despite widespread claims. Accusations of arson, arbitrary arrest and torture are still being investigated.” The article also explains that there have been allegation of militant government forces targeting Rohingya civilians and killing them as punishment and retaliation for attacks by Rohingya rebels.

How could such a devastating terror take place for an entire group of people and most of the world not know? Did you hear about the three Muslim family members who were murdered in February of 2015 over an argument about parking? How about the woman in New York City who had her hijab set on fire in a “possible hate crime” in September of 2016? Most people would not be able to identify these stories, all of which were captured and shared publicly by reliable news sources such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR. It is quite clear there has been a growing trend of violence against Muslims both within the United States and globally. Yet, if these things are being covered by such prominent ad well-known news sources, why aren’t these stories more widely known? Perhaps because bigger headlines read about terror attacks in Paris or Boston or even Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan carried out by the notorious terrorist group ISIS make up most of the news regarding the Muslim community. This sort of coverage leaves a very strong message about Islam and those who practice the religion in people’s’ minds and that message is almost always the idea that Islam is a very violent religion and Muslim are extremists who look to oppress anyone who goes against them. Much like the Rohingya people in Myanmar, this sort of majority thinking victimizes the minority group: Muslims.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world and fastest growing  major religion today, with as many as 1.7 billion people identifying as Muslim. That’s almost as much as a quarter of the entire global population. Despite the prevalence of the religion, however, Islam is very often misunderstood and preconceived as violent due to media coverage and stereotypes. This sort of social stigma deeply impacts individuals with Muslim backgrounds.

Jesus Maldonado is a Muslim of Puerto Rican descent. He faces a sort of discrimination quite rare due to the fact that he does not inherently look Muslim, yet is.

“People don’t believe me when I say I’m Boricua (Puerto Rican) and Muslim,” Maldonado said. “I usually have to speak in arabic and then spanish to kind of prove my point.”

The stereotypes goes beyond his language. Maldonado explained a time at The College at Brockport’s dining hall where he asked if the meat served was halal, which is a sort of dietary practice followed by Muslims. The server was a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, however, since Maldonado did not look Muslim to her she questioned what he knew about halal food and why he was asking.

Such situations take place constantly Maldonado explained. He was either too spanish for his fellow Muslims or too Muslim for his hispanic counterparts, however, this is nothing new for Maldonado.

“It doesn’t bother me. This is who I am, I’ve always been Puerto Rican and Muslim,” Maldonado said. “If someone is interested in either my faith or my culture we discuss it, if not we don’t.”

While Maldonado may be used to the sorts of stereotypes and discrimination that cause a difference for those who practice religion, others are not so used to it. Dayana Germain is a Christian woman of Haitian descent, yet her partner is an Egyptian Muslim. While religion wasn’t a big part of their relationship in the beginning, her partner has recently started to become more involved in his faith.

“He’s been reading the Quran more and he prays several times, sometimes three times a day,” Germain said.

While the practices of her partner do not bother Germain she admits that it’s certainly a different experience for their relationship which has caused her to learn more about Islam.

“I didn’t know too much about Islam. I knew it was a religion and that there were some things people were saying bad about it, but I like to know things for myself so I didn’t just listen to what others said,” Germain said.

She went on to explain that she has also taken to reading the Quran and was surprised by the teachings she came across.

“I’m a Christian woman, but even I must admit the teachings (presented by the Quran) are really good,” Germain said.

Both Maldonado and Germain are touched by Islam everyday, both experience the impacts of having the guidelines and teachings of Islam play a role in their lives. Yet many others do not have this firsthand experience and as a result view Islam only by preconceptions introduced by the masses. It is this sort of understanding that allows such horrors like the genocide in Myanmar to take place against innocent Muslim people. What can we do to help put an end to the discrimination and mistreatment of a group of people that make up almost a quarter of the world’s population? Educate ourselves.

“I would say just do research so you can know for yourself,” Germain said.

Perhaps with a wider understanding of Islam and the different cultures that make up the faith, the major headlines will ring with just as much urgency when Muslims are under attack as when non-muslims are attacked and maybe those attacks wouldn’t happen so frequently in the first place.

Ithaca College Forms Contingent Faculty Union

By Ryan Smith

Over the past few months, Ithaca College has been home to tense negotiations as Ithaca’s contingent faculty has battled for better benefits. Two contingent faculty unions have come together to ask for better pay and better benefits.

Since August 2016 Ithaca College’s adjunct contingent faculty has been vocal on their desire for pay increases and better job security. This is mainly because Adjunct professors are met with many disadvantages when compared to a full-time professor. Their salaries are usually lower and are sometimes on an hourly basis. They also risk losing their position as it is not permanent. Not to mention that adjunct professors do not work enough hours to receive benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. The full-time contingent faculty would also bring the same complaints to the college administration in December of 2016.faculty-protest-2_FF.jpg

At the end of 2016 the two unions would join and begin negotiating with the Ithaca College Administration. In February, after several attempts at negotiating with no success, the IC Contingent Faculty Union/Service Employees International Union announced that they would be holding a strike vote. This immediately raised the pressure for the college to negotiate with the union. After much deliberation, the majority of union members voted in favor of the strike. The strike was to last two days and to occur on March 28th and March 29th. As the day crawled closer and closer, the college came to an agreement with the union. The IC Contingent Faculty would go on to post an official public update detailing the agreement. You can read the full statement here. Simply put, the agreement included pay increases and the desired job security.

What makes the agreement so unique is that the adjunct faculty have no tenure like full-time faculty. Tenure allows full-time teachers and professors to indefinitely hold a position once they have been with the school for a certain period of time. No benefit even remotely close to this was made available for the contingent faculty. Some of the new benefits detailed in the Contingent Faculty’s update give members guaranteed appointments and interviews if they have been with the college for a minimum of three years. While it is not exactly like tenure it offers job security for contingent faculty like never before.

Cordell’s Corner- Graduation

Seniors at The College at Brockport are awaiting the moment they get to walk across the stage to receive their diploma. In the upcoming weeks, students will be stressing out while finishing projects and final exams. Despite the insurmountable stress they will be under the next couple weeks, they can be assured there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, I know firsthand how difficult it can be in the “real world.” As Brockport’s graduation expert, I took a trip around campus to get some seniors feedback on what they believe is in store.

Lastly, I have enjoyed providing you with the best expert advice you will ever hea… in your life. It sorrows me that I will no longer be able to harass the students on campus and make a fool of myself. Nevertheless, as I embark on my new career as the next Dr. Phil, I would like you to share this as much as possible to show your appreciation. To all my Cordell’s Corner fanatics, love and peace. 



People of Brockport’s Past: Serial Killer Joel Rifkin

Joel Rifkin getting arrested for 9 counts of murder. phot credits: Serialmurders.wikifoundry.com

By Jordan Soldaczewski

Look around the room you’re in. Now think about the fact that one of those people may one day become a serial killer.

This may not seem possible, but for Brockport student Robert Mladinich, this was reality. In 1993 he read the paper one day to find out that one of his former classmates from college was on trial for the murder of nine women.

Joel Rifkin was pulled over for a missing license plate on his car where police discovered a corpse in the trunk. Rifkin was arrested for murder and was later charged with various other counts of murder. He admitted to killing 17 people and to targeting female prostitutes. However, he was only tried for 9, since that is all the FBI were able to find. He will serve 203 years in the Clinton Correctional Facility in the North Country of NY.

Rifkin was born in 1959 and grew up on Long Island. He had a troubled childhood. He was an adopted child with diagnosed dyslexia, a low IQ, and an awkward nature. Rifkin was different from his peers, which led them to exclude him, especially when he tried to get involved in activities like the track team and the yearbook club.

In 1972 he was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy, leading to his later obsession with strangling prostitutes. In this same year his parents gave him a car that he used to begin picking up prostitutes.

Rifkin attended Nassau Community College for one semester and then dropped out. He then took three years to pursue landscaping in various parts of the country.

Rifkin then started at SUNY Brockport in 1977 and pursued photojournalism. Classmate Robert Mladinich shared a story about working on an article for The Stylus with Rifkin as explained in Mlandinich’s book, From the Mouth of the Monster: The Joel Rifkin Story. Rifkin and Mladinich were covering a boxing match featuring up-and-coming boxer, Rocky Fratto. The two had a lot in common to talk about on the thirty minute ride to Rochester and when the match took a turn of events, they were able to share a moment which most journalists dream of. Fratto was named the winner of a fight he clearly lost causing the crowd to become furious and drunkenly throw items and punches Fratto’s way.

“Joel initially sought refuge under the ring, but quickly realized that from a journalistic standpoint, valor took precedence over safety. He was soon amid the fray, firing away with his camera like a front-line war correspondent while bullets whizzed past his head. We could not believe our good fortune. On our very first paid assignment ever, we would not just be reporting the news, we were actually becoming part of it,” Mladinich said.

At Brockport, students truly looked up to Rifkin for his photography skill. The photography club and most others believed he would go on to become a successful photographer, that is until he dropped out. Rifkin was battling severe depression leading to his low grades and sloppiness. He found it hard to commit to his relationship at the time and often went to Rochester to pick up hookers. This all lead to the demise of his relationship and his academic career. Rifkin has argued that if he had access to anti-depression medication, he may have become the successful photographer he was destined to be and not the murder he is.

Rifkin moved back to Long Island with his parents and pursued a career in retail with the company Record World. He enjoyed it at first, until he had difficulty with the accounting aspects of paperwork. Rifkin felt like he had fallen back into his childhood years when he struggled to do simple math and would often get frustrated by it.

In 1986, Rifkins’ father became terminally ill and begged his son to take classes at SUNY Farmingdale. Rifkin enrolled in Biology and at midterms his father fell into a coma. The day before he died Rifkin said into his unconscious ear, “Gee, Dad, I got a ninety, isn’t that great?”

After his father’s death, Rifkin went back into his ways, working landscaping side jobs to pay the expenses of prostitutes. Officially out of college, instead of studying a major, Rifkin studied past crimes to learn how to cover up murder. Since he lived at home, Rifkin would have to wait until his mom was out of town to turn his sick fantasies into reality.

Rifkins first murder wasn’t until 1989. His next murder was 18 months later. After that it became routine to Rifkin.

17 victims lives were allegedly taken by Joel Rifkin. Killing became routine to him and he says he is surprised he wasn’t caught sooner, especially when disposing of the bodies which he often dismembered and disguised in burlap bags or paint cans on the way to dumping it into a river or a secluded area.

When you think of the people who attended the same college as you, you’re inclined to think about the people who have been successful. There are many interesting people who went to Brockport including renowned actors, film producers, journalists, entrepreneurs, senators, and more. What you may not think of are the murderers who walked the same halls as you do now, let alone serial killers.


“A Blue Light in Your Pocket”

Photo: courtesy of brockport.edu

By Johnny Nixon

The Blue Light system is a series of phones that have been placed across campuses around the country to be used as an emergency contact system. With the rise of cell phone use and campus safety apps, some campuses are reconsidering the value of maintaining the Blue Light System.

There are 47 Blue Light phones located across the College at Brockport campus, but Chief of University Police Edward Giblin says that they are rarely used.

“In the past 8 years that I have been at the college, I remember the phones being used only once for a medical emergency. A student was having a seizure,” said Giblin. “They have also been used a couple of times when students have requested an escort.”

Other than those few instances, Giblin says they have received prank calls, in which they only hear giggles at the other end of the line.

The SUNY New Paltz campus has recently taken measures to add another level of safety for their faculty and staff by implementing an app called Rave Guardian.

Deputy Chief Mary Ritayik of the New Paltz campus police said that the decision to switch to the app as a primary means of safety on the campus was in part influenced by advancements in technology.

“Blue Light was around since landlines, when people had to go to a specific location for a phone,” Ritayik said. “It was great tech 40 years ago. We still have them but they are hardly used.”

Ritayik says the phones are great to have around if someone’s cell phone were to die, but for the most part cell phones have replaced them as a primary source of emergency communication.

“We heard about Rave Guardian,” Ritayik said. “We were already using the Rave text system for mass notifications. This app has great benefit. We call it like a ‘Blue Light in your pocket’.”

Ritayik described the usefulness of the app, saying that it has a wide range of benefits. The app includes functions such as a timed alarm, a GPS locator, and even the option to fill out medical and personal information that could assist first responders to an emergency.

She said the app is especially useful on college campuses when students have to walk somewhere and are concerned for their safety.

“The timer function allows students to set a timed alarm,” Ritayik said. “Say you list your roommate as a contact [on the app], so if you are walking from your room to the library, you set the timer to say, 15 minutes, or however long it takes you to get there. Once you get to your destination, you would turn the timer off… If you don’t turn it off, the app notifies your roommate, who could then call you or go to your location to see if you are alright.”

Ritayik said that the university police allows students to list them as a designated contact for the timed alarm. They have a computer specifically set up to receive the notifications and automatically accept. The police can then call the phone that sent the alarm to see if everything is alright, similar to how the Blue Light system would works after being activated.

If the police are needed for an emergency or escort or receive no reply, they will send a car to the phone’s location.

Although Blue Light is no longer used as a primary source of communication by the New Paltz campus police, Ritayik still thinks it is important to have them available on the campus.

“It is a nice resource to have their, say you lose your phone or it dies, it is important to be able to still make a call,” Ritayik said.

However, some have argued that cell phones have rendered the Blue Light System completely obsolete. The University of Colorado Boulder has recently removed the system from their campus entirely.

“It’s is just not being used,” said Ryan Huff, CU Boulder’s campus spokesperson. “It has been several years since the campus has received a legitimate phone call through the system.”

The university installed the system over 20 years ago. Huff said that by the time they made the decision to uninstall the system, the phones were outdated and needed replacement parts.

“Instead of dumping more money into a system no one was using anyway, we pulled all of the phones, and instead invested the money into a safety app, which is called Lifeline,” Huff said.

The app is a free service that the campus takes great measures to market to their students. The link to the app store is located on the school website, and they encourage students to download it.

Huff said that students do not need to rely on a phone system to stay safe. 

“It’s a multilayered process. We encourage students to walk with a friend at night,” Huff said. “It is important to have well lit areas and to encourage people to be good bystanders.”

Huff believes that educating students on taking precautions is the best way to keep them safe.

At Brockport, Chief Gilbin thinks that although the Blue Light Phones are hardly used, they remain an important part of campus safety.

“Most of our phones are equipped with exterior speakers,” Giblin said. “If we have to make an emergency announcement, students will hear it. We do tests once a semester, and you can hear the messages inside and outside of the buildings on campus, say if you out near a parking lot.”

While the Brockport campus still hasn’t decided on an app, Chief Giblin says the campus police are currently looking into one to implement.