CUA Offers Emergency Text Message Notifications
Following the shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on April 16, Father O’Connell authorized university officials to add instant text messaging to the array of emergency notification tools to be employed for alerting members of the campus community of imminent danger. After a careful review of all the available text messaging options, the university’s Department of Public Safety, Center for Planning and Information Technology, Office of the Dean of Students and Office of Public Affairs decided that the most effective way of providing emergency text messaging to students, faculty, staff, parents of students and friends of the university is through the “Alert DC” system established by the D.C. government’s Department of Homeland Security.
The benefits of choosing this option include:
Capability of authorized CUA representatives to issue an emergency notification to the CUA community through the “Alert DC” system
Capability of members of the CUA community to sign up for emergency messages that pertain specifically to Catholic University or to sign up for additional messages (e.g., severe weather, traffic conditions, emergencies in the Brookland neighborhood, etc.)
Assurance that the information being transmitted is coming from a highly reliable source
Faculty, staff, students and others who sign up will receive urgent text messages to their cell phone, Blackberry or other mobile device. In order to be eligible to receive any messages, however, you must first sign up at https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/.
How it Works
The Catholic University of America is one of a number of area universities that have opted to register as an institution with the “Alert DC” system. When critical alerts affecting our campus are broadcast by the “Alert DC” system, pre-registered recipients will receive a short text message to their mobile device. Several CUA administrators have authority to request that messages be sent through the alert system. These requests will quickly be approved by D.C. Emergency Management personnel, who also have instant access to law enforcement and homeland security information that they can disseminate, as needed.
Anyone can sign up to receive emergency notifications affecting CUA, even if they do not live in the D.C. area. To register, please visit the Alert DC home page (https://textalert.ema.dc.gov) and create an account (click the New User link in the last paragraph). After selecting CUA and other communities/neighborhoods, the level of alerts to be received may also be selected.
When is it Used?
The “Alert DC” system will only be used by authorized CUA administrators to transmit short, truly urgent messages that affect the entire campus community (not, for example, snow closings). An emergency message from the CUA administration might include a shelter-in-place message or an evacuation alert. Note that the D.C. government also uses this system to notify the public of government office closings, severe weather conditions, and traffic conditions.
The “Alert DC” system represents an important enhancement to CUA’s emergency notification system. Depending on the level and type of emergency, it will be used with one or more of the following communication options already in place at the university:
The “Alert DC” system is fully operational for The Catholic University of America. Students, faculty, staff and others are encouraged to sign up at their earliest convenience.
Weight Watchers at Work
The Office of Human Resources and the Washington, D.C., branch of Weight Watchers International invite students, faculty and staff to register for a Weight Watchers at Work program to be held on campus for 12 weeks this fall.The program will teach participants how to make wise choices, eat healthy, enjoy food and exercise. The program fee for the 12 weeks is $168, payable in two installments. An information session will be held at noon on Sept. 26 in Leahy Hall, Room 100. For more information contact Marion Ficke at 202-319-5870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.