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Pens and pencils? Check. Notebooks and paper? Check. Computer? Check.

Cell phone equipped with a GPS device linked to your school's public-safety division?

For students at schools like Fairleigh Dickinson University and Georgia Gwinnett College, the back-to-school-shopping list has gotten a little bit longer.

Following last April's shootings at Virginia Tech, many schools nationwide have begun to use text-messaging alert systems in case of campuswide emergencies.

But at Fairleigh Dickinson, Georgia Gwinnett and other schools, safety officials have taken cell-phone technology a step further, giving their students phones with GPS devices in order to track them as they walk late at night.

Installed by RAVE Wireless, a company that specializes in cell-phone technologies, the phones allow students to set a timer that alerts the campus police if students do not reach their destination in the allotted time.

The product has drawn accolades from college policing organizations - Security on Campus gave Montclair State its 2006 Jeanne Clery Campus Safety award for being the first to install the service - and students at the participating schools say they feel more comfortable on campus as a result.

"The GPS makes me feel safer," said Fairleigh Dickinson freshman Rachel Anne Etra. "But, then again, I live on a very safe campus to begin with."

Unlike Penn, none of the schools now using RAVE are in urban locations, but Division of Public Safety officials say they will consider bringing the service to University City.

"We want to see it in action," Director of Security and Technical Services Dominic Ceccanecchio said, adding that they are waiting for RAVE representatives to demonstrate the product.

"We have a lot of questions to ask them about it," he said.

Privacy is a concern for some students who feel wary about giving school officials that level of insight into their whereabouts and activities.

"It does seem a little bit intrusive," College sophomore Cassidy Regan said. "Obviously, it would [be] really useful, but it seems like there's a lot of room for mistakes there."

Lynn Schwartz, a spokesperson for RAVE Wireless, acknowledged that school officials and students often express concerns about the potential for privacy invasions. She maintained, however, that once they become more familiar with the features of RAVE Guardian, they are always reassured.

"We're very careful to always stress that it's only when a student opts-in, when they feel unsafe, that we use the system," Schwartz said.

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