Schools Connecting With Students to Build Digital Communities



In the last six years, college and university campuses across the world have felt the impact of natural disasters and violence, and community members had to be notified. Some of the institutions had warning of the situations while others did not. By continually expanding the digital community, technology is changing the way that campuses keep their communities safe.

With the majority of students now “always on,” having a quick way to reach them in a time of emergency has become easier. Universities are able to send out notifications in a multitude of ways: SMS text message, voice call, desktop pop up, digital campus signs, email, social media and the university’s website. In times of emergency, broad and swift notification is the best way to keep everyone safe.

There is another campus safety connection on the horizon. In 2008, the FCC issued orders for adopting a Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). CMAS would allow for mobile phones to be manufactured with the ability to receive commercial emergency messages, similar to SMS messages. The biggest benefit to CMAS over SMS is that opting in is not required for the mobile user. Users do have the ability, however, to opt out of receiving the messages. The acceptance of CMAS messages would be a huge benefit to college campuses, eliminating the need for campus community members to sign up to receive notifications. CMAS messages are also sent out to mobile users in a certain geographic region, like a college campus and surrounding neighborhoods, so even campus visitors would be notified. This service should go into effect in 2012.