GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has added an emergency text messaging system to its crisis communication toolbox that can be used during campus emergencies.
GB Alert, the University’s new emergency notification tool, can send urgent news to the cell phones and e-mails of all current students, faculty and staff members. Students can also sign up a parent or guardian’s cell phone to receive the alerts.
“We want all of our emergency communication messages to reach as many of our campus members as quickly as possible,” said UW-Green Bay Public Safety Director Randy Christopherson. “With 95 percent of students owning cell phones, having a mass text messaging service, like we’ve added, will help us achieve that goal.”The notification system will only be used to communicate important information during a potential emergency, such as a severe weather warning, gas leak, fire, bomb threat, crime watch, power failure, boil-water advisory or other event.
Alerts sent via the service, which is administered through the company e2Campus, can also be posted on the University’s emergency website (http://emergency.uwgb.edu) and also monitored through subscribers’ online RSS feeds.
GB Alert will be used in conjunction with other emergency communication methods the University already uses, Christopherson said, including a campus-wide public address system, campus-wide e-mails, a computer pop-up on all campus computers, and the emergency website.
The system can send messages to all campus subscribers, subscribers who live in campus housing or select faculty and staff members, such as the campus Emergency Management Team.
Participation is voluntary and campus members need to sign up themselves through a simple online process to receive the messages.
The University started informing incoming freshmen and their parents about the service at registration days held in early June. A continued marketing effort will reach all students through various channels throughout the academic year.
“After events such as the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois shootings, students and their parents are showing more concern about their safety,” Christopherson said. “While we have certain systems already in place that can help them stay safe, students need to take the imitative to sign up to have emergency text messaging as an additional communications option.
The e2Campus service is free to subscribers unless an individual’s carrier charges for incoming text messages.
About 600 educational institutions nationwide use e2Campus. In Wisconsin, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Platteville, Madison Area Technical College, Cardinal Stritch, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and the Marquette Law School use the company.
“We’re happy to offer this new service to our campus, and we hope the campus community sees the value in having it as another way to help themselves stay safe,” Christopherson said.