Colleges and universities today are deeply challenged by needless technical obstacles to discharging duties to mitigate foreseeable risks to the safety and security of students studying abroad. Current travel-tracking solutions are antiquated and ineffective. To the extent a school has the foresight and maturity to offer products and services like emergency contact cards or check-in apps, students are overwhelmingly unaware or disengaged. The schools own the risk but are flying blind. In fact, nearly 70% of students did not report their side-trips and/or their independent off-campus travel while on school-sponsored programs. The information gap is bad for everyone. Students need safety and security services, but don’t voluntarily adopt them, even when available or made mandatory. Social connections, adventure, and budget drive student travel behaviors. Safety and security are after-thoughts or “no-thoughts”—third on their totem pole of travel anxieties. When something goes wrong, the school is exposed not only to incident-related loss and expense, but disproportionate harm to reputation, and to strategic objectives to promote wide use of study abroad options.
For this reason, we created OffWeGo, a student-centric, mobile-first solution equally valuable and appealing to university risk managers and student travelers. We streamline the data collection of student travel by bundling key safety features from our travel assistance partners, with social and monetary incentives that keep students engaged and an active participant in the reporting process. We send this data to the student's university to aid the university's duty of care, so they can properly advise and assist the travelers once they've departed.