Alert BG: The next step in campus safety

When trouble strikes, a quick response in notifying people can be vital. The University is preparing to launch AlertBG, a text-messaging program that will be used to communicate with students, faculty and staff in case of emergencies on campus.

The new program, which adds another dimension to the campus’s overall crisis management plan, is set to go into effect tomorrow (Oct. 30). AlertBG increases BGSU’s ability to communicate a variety of warnings, such as severe weather, campus closings, canceled classes, building closures and crimes in progress. The campus police department will send the messages. “The system will be used strictly for emergency situations,” said Police Chief James Wiegand.

Messages will include instructions on who to contact in the event that the recipient needs to contact campus police immediately, according to the campus Crisis Management Committee.

While AlertBG provides another avenue of communication, it only works if people register their cell phone numbers with the University, say crisis committee members. Participants can choose to receive alerts on their cell phones and email or only by email. The service is provided through the e2campus company.

Signing up is simple and can be done at the secure MyBGSU site. Click on the AlertBG tab at the top of the Welcome page. The signup form asks for a name, password, mobile phone number and service carrier. You can also set a date by which to opt out (typically, students' expected graduation date). Once you have established text message alert service you may add email alert notification.

To encourage students to register, participants can sign up to win a $50 University Bookstore gift certificate. Flyers, posters and other promotional materials will be distributed around campus, along with information in the daily Campus Update and banners on the BGSU home page.

“From the safety and police perspective, I strongly encourage everyone to sign up,” Wiegand said.

The process of implementing AlertBG has been a collaboration between the Office of the Chief Information Officer, the campus police department and other members of the University’s crisis committee.

New recorded message line set
In addition to the AlertBG text-messaging system, the University has set up a new phone line for updated campus situation information. Dial 37-ALERT (372-5378) for a recorded message about campus conditions. The new number supplements the 372-SNOW line, which is used primarily for weather and closing updates and will be phased out eventually.

“The 37-ALERT number gives us more flexibility to provide a broader range of important information to our campus community,” said Kim McBroom, associate vice president for marketing and communications, whose office maintains the line.

October 29, 2007