In light of events at Virginia Tech earlier this year several schools are looking for ways to issue alerts to their student body in a way that is quick and efficient. While there is email, not everyone checks theirs on a regular basis a great alternative is that of text messaging. My college in particular has set up a system that allows you to subscribe to their text messaging service in order to receive alerts about things like severe weather, major traffic delays (the may highway into the college town was blocked both ways yesterday due to a tank truck being wrecked and then catching fire), and other emergency events.
“Thank you to those of you that updated your contact telephone numbers and gave permission to send emergency text notifications to your cell phone. If you haven’t updated your information, please take a minute to do so at My.UNT.edu – it will only take you a minute and it will keep you informed of emergencies on campus should they occur.
If you did sign up for Eagle Alert text messaging already, you will be receiving an OPT-In text message to confirm your selection to receive emergency text messages.
To acknowledge your participation in the text messaging program, you must reply to that message with the phrase Y UNT (the text message you receive has these instructions as well) and you should not put any other information in the text of the reply message. “
It is unfortunate that it took the events that occurred to spur this into action, but I see this as a very positive step forward in tapping into the possibilities of the connected culture we’ve become.