Louisiana Campuses Sign on for Emergency Alerts

Omnilert, which sells the e2Campus emergency notification system, said it has sold its services to several Louisiana colleges and universities in recent months. The company also recently posted a discount pricing structure to the Louisiana state contract system, which allows schools in the contract system to purchase the service without going through a bid process.

The University of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Baton Rouge Community College, Delgado Community College, Dillard University, and Louisiana State University Health Science Center have all signed up for the service, the company said in a statement.

"We are extremely pleased with the e2Campus service--from both a technology standpoint and a customer service standpoint," said Carol Gniady, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Information at Delgado Community College. "This is one more very efficient vehicle we can use to provide our students with proactive emergency communications."

In late March the notification system helped nab a student who had made threats against another at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. The university issued mass text messages to the campus community that it was going into lockdown and to look out for the suspect. Armed with this information, students spotted the wanted individual in the school library and called police with his location. One student was quoted on local news coverage as saying, "When they sent out his name, we went on Facebook to look up his name and when we saw the picture, two of the girls were like, 'I just saw him.'"

In early April, Eastern Washington University used e2Campus for a bomb threat in the campus library. Additionally, the school has sent alerts for various weather-related closings.

In February, Ferrum College in Virginia communicated with students via mass text messages during an all-day lockdown when a man was spotted on campus with a handgun.

The system sends alerts in multiple formats, including SMS text messages for cell phones, via email, by web or RSS feed, to wireless PDAs, to electronic displays and alert beacons and through PA systems. Although subscribers opt into the service, the system includes a feature called SEED that can automatically include every school email address in the alert.

In the state contract post, Omnilert published the following discount pricing:
  • Monthly recurring subscription fee per subscriber: $0.10
  • One-time set-up fee per institution if on-site training is required: $1,200
  • Monthly fee for optional voice service plan to deliver text to voice alert messages: $0.12
  • Additional training per day, $1,200
A campus with 10,000 subscribers would pay $1,000 minimum per month for the notification service.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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