how a u.s. university keeps track of their students studying abroad

Case study

The Client

Ranked as part of the “Top US colleges” by the Wall Street Journal, Suffolk University has hundreds of students and staff studying and living abroad. Therefore it is crucial for their risk management and emergency management committee members to know where all members of their institution are, and be able to account for their wellbeing at all times.

The Situation

As an educational institution our client faces a range of unique challenges.

First of all students have no legal obligation to inform their university of where they are, making locating travellers in an emergency, extremely difficult. Kenneth Walsh, University Emergency Manager, explains how although they have the information of which University students are attending, as soon as they inevitably decide to travel when abroad it becomes more difficult to know their whereabouts. This paired with the lack of obligation of students to inform of their whereabouts can be another obstacle in creating a smooth process. This can make fulfilling their duty of care more difficult and can risk leaving students in more vulnerable position.  

Despite this, there are also greater expectations placed on educational institutions from family members, and media who pick up on incidents immediately, to keep students safe. With a number of high profile terrorist attacks over the last couple of years, media attention and awareness has increased. Such incidents place even more pressure on universities to check up on travellers more frequently, ensuring they can accurately monitor their physical whereabouts and physical and mental health.

Lastly, the need for collaboration across different departments can make creating a fluid travel risk strategy more challenging. Often business continuity managers and university emergency managers are left to educate and train new members of staff outside their departments. In order to maintain a smooth process and keep students safe, everyone involved needs to understand the technology they’re using.

When combining all of these difficulties, our client felt the need to overcome these difficulties by using a reputable travel risk management service with strong technological capabilities.

The Response

Drum Cussac’s experience with higher education institutions made us an ideal provider for Suffolk University to provide a comprehensive travel risk management programme to keep their students safe.

Opting for RiskMonitor Pro and PeopleMonitor modules from GlobalRiskManager, team members were quickly able to identify incidents as they occur, and then locate and contact any travellers within the vicinity. Their service offers highly detailed country and regional analysis allowing the University of Suffolk to have a deeper understanding of the risks present in various study abroad and international research locations. The University regularly tunes in to Drum Cussac’s invaluable training webinars which keep users up-to-date with the ever evolving GlobalRiskManager technology.

Choosing to partner with Drum Cussac on two further modules, GlobalSOS and PEND, guarantees 24 hour assistance and expert advice in the case of an emergency, including evacuation. This provided absolute peace of mind for those responsible for students’ wellbeing, as well as reassurance for the students themselves.


The Outcome

For the travellers:

  • Access to an easy-to-use app providing them with real-time risk alerts
  • The ability to be tracked and kept safe with the app
  • Access to an SOS button should they find themselves in an emergency situation
  • Peace of mind for friends and family

For the University:

  • A comprehensive travel risk management strategy in place
  • The ability to track students whereabouts even if they leave the University vicinity
  • To understand which students are in the vicinity of a potential incident
  • Peace of mind that any students facing an emergency situation can be evacuated if necessary
  • The ability to keep their students safe whilst travelling abroad

Listen to this highly informative discussion on the travel risk management challenges facing many higher education institutions with the growth of study abroad. Plus the real-life solutions that have worked for Suffolk University.