SSU upgrades mass notification system

February 9, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

Shawnee State University (SSU) is in the process of making upgrades to it’s mass notification system to allow for text message capabilities.

According to Elizabeth Blevins, Director of Communications for SSU, the current mass notification system has been in place for several years and allows the university to contact those signed up to receive a message in the event of an emergency.

“With the push of one button, these alerts are sent instantly to all phone numbers and e-mail addresses in the system. With the upgrade, students, faculty and staff will also receive a text message with the alert information, as well as the voice phone call and e-mail. The system also allows for the alert message to automatically be uploaded to the university’s Facebook and twitter accounts as well as its website,” Blevins said.

She said the most common use for the system has been in the event of snow emergencies and safety alerts.

Blevins said when new students arrive on campus they are prompted through their online student information site called MySSU to opt in or out of the system by providing their information.

“We currently have around 7,000 numbers in the system. Faculty and staff are also reminded periodically about the system. Participation is voluntary. They (students faculty and staff) have to opt in to the system,” Blevins said.

She said though the system is restricted to the SSU community, it’s a good way for SSU officials to communicate with members of the community in the event of an emergency where ever they may be.

“This upgrade helps us to better communicate with our students - using whatever method they most often use,” said, David Thoroughman, Director of the SSU Department of Public Safety. “Many of our students have indicated that they would prefer receiving a text message over a phone call. The new system now allows us to do that, as well as communicate with them instantly in social media.”

Upgrades are expected to be in place in March. In preparation, SSU is asking faculty and staff to update their contact information.

For more information about Shawnee State University and the many programs and activities offered visit www.shawnee.edu.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com.