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UM develops new method for increasing participation in emergency notification system


Christian Basi

August 27, 2008

The University of Missouri System has developed a new method for increasing student participation in our emergency notification system hosted by the 3N company. Students now will be able to enter their contact information the first time they log into their student system beginning every Aug. 1, Jan. 1 and June 1. Students also can update or add their contact information through the same system at other times during the year.

"By developing a screen on our student systems like myZou at MU, MyView at UMSL, Joe'SS at Missouri S&T, and Pathway at UMKC that asks students to enter their contact information, we hope to make the process more top of mind and increase participation in the 3N system," said UM System Vice President for Information Technology Gary Allen. "While we hope to never have to use the 3N system to alert students to an emergency on one of our campuses, having their contact information is essential to notifying them and increasing the opportunity to keep them safe."

Through July, the university has captured 31.5 percent of student cell phone numbers on the university's four campuses. This is up from 21.25 percent in December.

UM System President Gary Forsee made the decision to incorporate student sign up as part of the login process to access student systems on all four campuses as a way to increase participation.

The university purchased the 3N InstaCom Campus Alert System in September 2007 to alert students, faculty and staff in the event of a natural disaster or technological or human event that could pose danger. The system enables campus authorities to record one message alerting a campus community and then rapidly delivers those messages to participants' cell phones via recorded message or text message, and e-mail. Tragic events on college campuses nationwide last year prompted the university to make the investment.

Forsee said he hopes students will take advantage of the opportunity to provide their contact information, though they still will have the option of opting-out.