Emergencies — whether they are drills or the real thing — can cause mass hysteria in an uninformed campus. A new service at UVU has been implemented in an attempt to prevent these types of preventable stress.

With the new service called Opt in, students, faculty and staff can sign up for text message notifications in cases of emergency. By sending a timely message to the campus community, the Opt in service is set up to help recipients avoid hazards, threats or inconveniences arising on or in the vicinity of campus.

“The emergency messaging system will only be for campus safety and emergency communications. Examples include building closures, campus closures, severe weather for campus, shooter on campus, earthquake, gas leak, terrorist issue, Hazmat issues, etc.,” Ray Walker, Associate Vice President of Information Technology/CIO at UVU, said.

Though the emergency messaging service is the most crucial role of Opt in, it also provides students with high priority messages from the President, and also messages from Student Government. In this way, the service will also keep students more connected to campus events. The combinations of these make four options available for Opt in recipients: Emergency Only, Emergency & Student Government, Emergency & High-Priority Messages, and All levels – (Emergency, High-Priority, Student Government).

During this past year, there have been several significant events that the Opt-In would have sent to recipients of the service. The water main break that closed campus, and the Business Building closure would have been sent on the emergency messaging service, the announcement of the new president would have gone through high-priority announcements and Homecoming and student elections would have been announced through Student Government messaging. With this messaging service now employed, word of events such as these will be passed along to the campus community much faster.

As of yet, the Opt in system is not perfect and dependent on cell phone providers that can block, drop or slow down messaging. Still, it is an important tool to help UVU communicate to the student body in emergency situations, and word of relevant concerns sent through Opt in is sure to spread quickly on campus.

“Even if only a limited number of the campus community receive the messages in a timely fashion, it can still serve to spread the word quickly around the campus community,” Walker said.

To sign up for the Opt in, do the following:

1. Login to UVLink

2. On the “Home” Tab go to the “Online Services Menu” channel (Middle of the page)

3. Select “Personal Information Menu”

4. Select “Opt-in to Text Messaging”

5. Enter your cell phone information

6. Select the Opt-in Level

7. Read the Terms of Participation

8. Click the “I Accept” button

9. Test the system by clicking on the “Test Your Text Messaging” button