Following the shooting at Virginia Tech in April, many schools across the country are pumping up their security and communication systems to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.
For Eastern University and many other colleges the answer lies with e2campus, a mass notification system that enables a non-technical administrator to communicate time-sensitive information to the entire community at once.
According to Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of student development, the administration considered notifying students of emergencies via campus phones or the internet, but decided that those solutions would not have been timely enough. The e2campus program seemed to be the perfect choice.
Essentially, students will be given a link to a website where they can use their email address and cell phone number to register for the program. If an emergency ever occurs, any student, parents or faculty who have registered will immediately receive a mass text message warning them of any danger and actions that they should take.
The company guarantees that all personal information will remain private and inaccessible at all times.
When asked how students will receive alerts while in classes where teachers do not allow cell phones to remain on, Brigham had a ready response. “A solution to that problem would be to ask the class to keep their phones on vibrate or ask one student to keep their phone on and then notify the teacher when there is an emergency,” she said. “After the threat has been resolved, a brief message will be sent to the students again.”
To back up its new text-alert program, Eastern is also planning to install a siren in case something should cause the alert program from getting through to the students. During an emergency, the siren will be loud enough to be heard across the entire campus so that everyone will know to take cover.
With so much technology being used, students may wonder how much all of this will cost. According to Brigham, it should only cost approximately a dollar a person per year.
Many students are just glad to have such a program around. First-year, Justin Ostrander is one of them. “It sounds like a good and efficient way of informing others when an emergency happens,” Ostrander said. “It’s great to know first-hand what precautions to take.”
“Our prayer is that when we purchase this and get it into play we will never have to use it.” said Brigham.