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RAVE keeps students updated in emergency situations

RAVE keeps students updated in emergency situations

Jon Coffey

Emporia State’s Ravesystem alerts students via text message and email in the event of an emergency situation. The most recent activation was Feb. 4 when the university was closed for a snow day.

When inclement weather or other emergencies strike Kansas, how do Emporia State students get the information? According to Carrie Boettcher, emergency manager, ESU uses an emergency notification system called Rave.

So far this year, seven emergency alerts have been sent out. When the system is used, they send out a message through email, text, Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feed and ESU’s homepage.

“Not all of our Rave alerts send out to all the channels,” said Cory Faldine, associate chief information officer. “So, for instance, when we send a Rave alert, we can actually pick and choose what channels it goes out through, or what avenues… depending the type of message we may exclude text massaging because it’s not necessarily an ‘emergency.’”

These notifications are used to report an important change in the school’s schedule, as on a snow day, a safety issue or a similarly pressing situation. Students are automatically signed up to the alert system when they enroll at ESU, with both their cell phone numbers and their Gmail accounts.

“The way our system is set up, technically, a student in a lot of ways is considered an active student for 24 months after their last enrolled semester, which would also mean that puts more in the range of about 22,000 students (that use Rave), give or take,” Faldine said.

Boettcher said there is a specific group of people who have been trained to use the system and who receive training twice a year.

“The purpose of the alert is quick information (in order) to take action,” Boettcher said.

However, students do not receive any notifications from the Rave system relating to “standard” alerts. For instance, if a theater event is canceled, “for ordinary reasons,” that would be just part of business, Boettcher said.

“That would be communicated to not only ESU, but to the rest of community through standard communication standards,” Boettcher said.

Boettcher added that each alert is dealt with on a case by case basis. Information is filtered through the system depending on how directly it affects those on campus.

“If it’s a storm that’s coming and it’s producing large hail, and people need to stay inside, and it’s expected to impact the area in the next 20 minutes, that might be an immediate campus alert,” she said.

The alert system has received some positive feedback from students such as Alayne Weber, freshman theater major.

“I like when they give us…the text alerts, and that really helps me a lot,” Weber said. “It’s really handy. I very much appreciate that they do that.”

Some students, however, think that the system could be improved. Josh Agnew, freshman undecided major, said he wishes there was a school news channel to cover such alerts.

Boettcher said if anyone is not receiving alerts and would like to, all they need is to search “campus alerts,” on the ESU website. It is also possible to find the campus alerts page by clicking on the “ESU Emergency alerts” poster on BuzzIn.

To be removed from the system, students can log in and follow the directions online or text an alert back saying, “Please stop.”

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