A disturbing comment directed at Molly Bergin earlier this year compelled the SUNY Oswego marketing major to develop a product to help people when they believe they may be in danger.
“A guy yelled from his porch and he said, ‘Maybe if you catch up to the rest of the college kids, you’ll be safe,’” Bergin said of her experience at night in September on Oswego’s Bridge Street, according to a news item published Dec. 19 by the Watertown Daily Times. “That really rattled me. Once I got to the back streets, I started running and I thought there has to be a safer way to let people know you feel like you’re in danger but it’s not always immediate danger.”
Bergin enlisted the help of finance major Robyn Kilts, one of her sorority sisters at Phi Sigma Sigma, to create the Hush Bracelet. Making use of an app and GPS signaling, the device alerts an individual’s contacts and emergency personnel if that person feels threatened.
“It’ll be connected to an app, which is how you’d be able to contact people primarily. If you push the bracelet once, it notifies friends and family that you feel like you’re in danger but that you don’t necessarily need to be picked up at that moment,” Bergin said. “The second time you hit it, it starts tracking your location while still notifying friends and family. And then the third time you hit it, it notifies 911 and sends them your location.”
Bergin and Kilts, both members of SUNY Oswego’s American Marketing Association chapter, won the 2021 Launch It competition at the school for the Hush Bracelet. The contest sparks entrepreneurial spirit and alumni connections among students,” the news item reported.
“This year, Launch It was a hybrid event with judges, students, faculty, alumni and guests participating both in person in Rich Hall and virtually through Zoom. However, one thing remained consistent — the spirit of entrepreneurship and involvement from enthusiastic alumni,” according to the story. “This year, [more than] 30 alumni provided training and mentorship to students participating in Launch It. [Irene Scruton, assistant dean in the School of Business] and the organizers of the event work hand in hand with the Alumni and Development Office to gather alumni from all walks of life, graduated degree programs and business ventures to participate. … Scruton notes 1984 alumnus Mark Marano, CEO of Structural Integrity Associates Inc. in North Carolina, went as far as traveling up to Oswego to have dinner with the finalists.
“The Launch It finals were the culmination of a series of events that began in October. In all, 31 students of all academic concentrations gave one-minute business idea pitches and submitted two-minute business introduction videos. These were scored by faculty and alumni who mentored them throughout the process. An online community via the Engage platform provides ongoing connections and advice for student participants. … In addition to Kilts and Bergin winning the top prize, senior Sa’Cora Sneed earned the second-place prize of $1,500 sponsored by Sherwin Williams with their pitch for Accustom; and seniors Ianya Armstrong and Leah Clynes earned the third-place prize of $1,000 sponsored by Wegmans with their pitch for Style Me. In addition, the remaining 12 teams that made the final 16 received $200 prizes.”
The Launch It competition is an excellent program, challenging students to be innovative. We commend all the individuals who participated and encourage them to continue pursuing their ideas. Our society benefits when solutions to problems are addressed in a practical manner, and SUNY Oswego helps its students reach this goal.