Sign-up Under Way for UT ALERT Text Messaging System

KNOXVILLE — Faculty, staff and students at the University of Tennessee are registering quickly for the university’s new emergency text messaging system.

Members of the campus community can sign up for UT ALERT online at http://www.utk.edu/utalert. The university has contracted with e2Campus, a mass notification and text messaging firm, to make the system available for this academic year.

Sign-up began this summer with incoming freshmen during orientation sessions. Though the sign-up process is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the UT ALERT site, a number of computer kiosks will be made available throughout campus in the first weeks of the semester for added convenience.

The kiosks will be set up as follows:

• 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Aug. 20, University Center
• 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 22, Joe Johnson/John Ward Pedestrian Mall
• 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 23, Joe Johnson/John Ward Pedestrian Mall
• 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 24, Joe Johnson/John Ward Pedestrian Mall
• 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, University Center

“Text messaging is a fast, efficient and simple way to communicate with our campus community,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree. “It is critical that we have in place many avenues to communicate with our faculty, students and staff, and this technology adds yet another mechanism to do so.”

Sign-up is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the UT ALERT Web site. In addition, the messages generated by UT ALERT can be sent to cell phones, PDAs, e-mail addresses or pagers. The secure system will be used only to deliver critical messages in the event of an emergency. No one will receive messages from UT that are unsolicited.

The system will not deliver advertising content, and no cost is passed on to those who participate, other than any fees charged by their phone provider for text messaging services. Since the system relies on text messaging, it will function effectively even when cell traffic increases during an emergency.

“In an emergency, we have to seek as many efficient means of communication with the campus as possible,” said UT Chief of Police August Washington. “In the most difficult situations, many forms of timely notification can save lives.”

Alerts can be sent over the system almost instantly, allowing for even faster communication in the event of an emergency, without requiring recipients to be in front of a computer to check e-mail. UT ALERT represents one of many ways that UT can communicate with the campus during an emergency. The university also can utilize blast e-mails, posting fliers throughout campus, web posting, campus-wide simultaneous voicemails, residence hall public address systems and police loudspeakers.

UT’s contract with e2Campus will allow up to 35,000 subscribers to the UT ALERT system, which will accommodate all Knoxville-area students, faculty and staff. The annual cost for the service is about $24,000.

Safety information for members of the UT campus community is available at http://safety.utk.edu.


Contacts:

Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)