Purdue University To Use Text Messaging for Campus Emergencies

Purdue UniversityPurdue University plans to test a text messaging system in late September. So far, about 6,000 students, faculty, and staff have signed up, according to Scott Ksander, executive director of information technology networks and security. In order for the test to be valid, however, the university claims it needs three times that number.

Registration is a simple process. Users go to http://www.purdue.edu/securepurdue and click on “Change My Password.” They then enter their account name and password, and then select the “Emergency Contact Information” link.

Results from the test will be used to determine what works, what can be improved, and how best to evaluate a system for the campus. The university explained that it will use the system only for this test and emergencies involving public safety. Here are some more details (which you can only get to after logging into the system as a student or staff member):

“Purdue University has established an Emergency Warning Notification System to quickly communicate emergency messages. As part of a multi-layered approach for communicating information in the event of a public safety emergency, Purdue has added an opt-in text message system.

Staff and students may optionally provide a cell phone number that may be used for emergency notification. List your cell phone number that you would likely carry with you while on campus. Parents, friends, and other concerned people may enter their information via the eAlert option at www.purdue.edu, which registers them to an emergency notification email list.

Because the career account houses the most up to date information about the status of a student, staff or faculty person, that is the mechanism Purdue will use to enter the data and store it. Only cell phone numbers of faculty, staff and students currently at the University will be stored for use.

Text messages to your cell phone will ONLY be sent in the event of a public safety emergency or a well publicized test of the emergency notification’s systems. This information will be used for NO OTHER PURPOSE. Depending on your cell phone plan, there may be a charge to you for receiving these text messages. Please consider providing this information so we have options for contacting you in the unlikely event of such an emergency.”