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GSU launches EAGLE ALERT emergency system

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Posted: February 8, 2008 5:19 p.m.
Updated: February 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    In the event of an emergency, Georgia Southern University will be getting the word out quickly with newly launched EAGLE ALERT, an upgraded emergency text messaging system designed to warn students and employees of potential threats or emergencies.
    “Our goal is to immediately inform the campus community about an emergency and how to stay out of harm’s way,” said Ken Brown, director of Public Safety at GSU. “This emergency messaging system is just one of the avenues we use to reach the campus community. Other methods include mass e-mail, telephone, local radio and television stations, and the Georgia Southern University Web site.”
    The university will only utilize the emergency message system in three situations — life threatening emergencies, severe weather alerts (such as tornado or hurricane warnings) and other crime alerts that fall under the Clery Act. The Clery Act requires the university to provide timely alerts of crimes that are potential threats to students and faculty members. The message will direct you where to go for further information or what action to take.
    “E-mail and voice mail can only reach so many people in a short amount of time,” said GSU president Bruce Grube. “Georgia Southern University wants to ensure that we are using any and all avenues to communicate with our campus in the event of an emergency situation. With so many students and faculty and staff carrying cell phones, the addition of text messaging will...provide us with yet another means of reaching the campus in an emergency.”
    EAGLE ALERT is a joint effort between GSU’s Office of Public Safety, IT Services and the Office of Marketing and Communications. Since the campus shootings at Virginia Tech, the administration has assessed the institution’s capabilities in dealing with such situations.
    “The university initially launched an emergency messaging system last year, but this new system is a significant upgrade, providing much more functionality,” said Steve Burrell, GSU vice president and chief information officer. “We’re very excited and take student safety very seriously. We’ve adopted a product that will serve the university community much better.”
     In addition to Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff receiving alerts, East Georgia Community College students attending classes on the university’s campus will be added to the list of those who will receive messages. 
    “Emergency messaging enhances our ability to contact a large number of people quickly, but no one system is going to reach everyone,” Burrell said. “Our goal is to ensure that we are able to reach as many people as possible. The key to the success of the system will be for students, faculty and staff to regularly update their contact information with the university.”
    Students, faculty and staff at Georgia Southern can update their contact info by going to the MyGeorgiaSouthern page, selecting “EAGLE ALERT,” then updating their contact information through the personal settings area. Faculty and staff should update contact information through the university’s Human Resources department. East Georgia Community College students should ensure their correct contact information is updated through their college office.
    “The process takes only a couple of minutes, but it’s well worth it,” Brown said.

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