By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
A new emergency text message system being rolled out this week is expected to keep GCU students, faculty and staff informed in the face of potential danger.
Every student on campus has automatically been enrolled in the system administered by Rave Mobile Safety. The Massachusetts-based company provides mobile emergency management technology to universities and colleges in the U.S.
Students have the ability to opt-out of their automatic enrollment from emergency texts. They can also opt-in to non-emergency information streams – such as weekly texts about GCU sports and campus life events, or the daily Student Union lunch menu.
|Emergency Text Messages|
|GCU’s Public Safety office will be testing the new Rave Mobile Safety emergency alert system as more students, staff and employees become aware of the system. Students and non-students who’ve registered to receive mobile alerts should receive test-texts as soon as this week.If you have any questions about your account or the flow of information through the new mobile system, contact the Public Safety office at 602-639-8100 or visit the office at Camelback Hall.|
The Rave texting system, however, is primarily about public safety. GCU’s Public Safety Department will manage emergency alerts, which would primarily be related to significant emergencies ranging from something as serious as a potential campus security breach to key messages about traffic jams related to a gas leak or major auto accident, according to Public Safety Director Henry Griffin.
“It’s probably going to be a good plan, a good fit,” Griffin said. “As we move into it and begin to use it, we’ll see if there are other features in it that we might use down the road… but right now we’ve gone through the first process of making sure everyone’s on the system.”
Public Safety is expected to send test texts to familiarize students and other users with the system. Notifications will be sent out prior to tests. Those who don’t receive test texts, or who have any questions about the text system, can visit Public Safety between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily to troubleshoot or call the office at 602-639-8100.
While students have been automatically enrolled in Rave, faculty and staff must register at www.getrave.com/login/gcu. An account is established using the same credentials for Campus Vue, LoudCloud, Angel or GCU computer.
The getrave.com link will ask you to enter in your GCU login and password (same as employees use at their desktop computers for Windows login, such as “michael.ferraresi” and password). Click LOGIN, not REGISTER. If you have any issues, please check with the Public Safety office. They may need to direct some users to register if they’re not appearing in the system.
Bill Homer, Rave’s director of public safety services who helped train GCU staff, said his company’s mobile technology enables Universities to transmit emergency messages via text-messaging or email.
“Reliability, speed of delivery, multiple modes of delivery and ease of use are key priorities our clients consistently impress upon us,” Homer said. “When a notification system is used, it needs to be intuitive and quick to deliver the message to recipients whatever their communication preference.”
GCU’s Communications office will coordinate with campus offices, such as Athletics and Student Life, to organize regular messages from seven optional information streams: men’s and women’s sports, Student Life, Spiritual Life, GCU Arena, campus fine arts, and the Student Union lunch menu.
Text messages are only 109 characters long, or shorter than Twitter, though they can include web links to GCU Today stories or links to other GCU websites for more information. However, those will only be accessible to users with smart phones. Others will receive text-only messages or e-mails (if selected) if they don’t have the Internet on their phone.
The non-emergency channels are entirely optional. Students and other users can select all or none, and also decide to opt-out of emergency alerts if they’d like. But that isn’t recommended.
Campus officials say the emergency messages will be used judiciously, and that the focus with the program is to inform the campus community about key potential emergencies as information develops.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 639.7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.