Sep 122007
 
Authors: Kyla Hunt

Months after the massacre at Virginia Tech prompted CSU to revisit its security plans, a new emergency text messaging system is now operable, officials said.

The Emergency Text Messaging Service provides students, faculty and staff with a cell phone text message containing information about any particular emergency situation.

“The response (to the Text Messaging Alert System) has really been quite amazing,” said Jose Valdez, assistant director for the Telecommunications Department. “The website was up last week and one announcement was sent out to all of us working on the project informing us that 5,000 registrations had already been performed in the period of a week.”

Students are not automatically entered into the system. Contact information must be kept updated for the duration of the year through the student’s RAMweb account.

Although a survey conducted by CSU showed 90 percent of students in residence halls own a cell phone, not all students have cell phones, Valdes said, so the alert program won’t reach everyone.

The CSU Emergency Management Team, the group that controls the university’s emergency plans, has already been discussing other systems that could enhance communications on campus throughout the next several years to prevent this problem.

The system will be used only in emergency situations.

The Telecommunications Department has reviewed and tested the program during the first week of September, which reached subscribers within a few minutes, officials said.

As of now, only one cell phone per user can be registered. The university is hopeful this limitation will be overcome by next semester.

Natalie Lira, a freshman Spanish major, said she plans on registering.

“It’s good to know about what is going on around campus,” Lira said. “Not to mention I can pass along the news to anyone who doesn’t know.”

Valdez said he has been very pleased with the response and is reassured that this system will be a success from the interest already shown on campus.

Students will be prompted to verify or update their information to the service once they register for classes each semester on RAMweb.

Abdullah AlOmran, a senior engineering major, said he thinks the system will beneficial.

“If there is an emergency, the student will know; I think it’s a great system.”

Staff writer Kyla Hunt can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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To establish insight and an effective reaction to emergency situations, anyone with a campus EID (a university electronic identity) can register at http://ramweb.colostate.edu. After arriving on the site, click on “Records” on the right side of the page, then on “Change My Emergency Notification Cell Phone” and enter the number. You must go about these same steps if you wish to update cell phone information. Modifications are being made on how often the system is updated for registered participants.

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