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The Ranger

New System Alerts Efficiently

April 1, 2010

Two weeks ago, Amarillo College faculty and students received the first test message from the new emergency notification system: AC Alert.

AC Alert is a system that allows messages to be sent to the AC community via e-mail, voicemail and SMS text messages. “There are more than 13,000 people on our list,” said Ellen Green, dean of college communications and marketing.

A system was required that would accommodate the large number of people on the AC campuses.

“We have been working for about a year on getting a system that fits our needs and allows us to send messages simultaneously in three different ways,” Green said.

She said AC looked at several systems before choosing the SchoolMessenger system.

“Safety is our No. 1 goal,” she said. “We hope that in any emergency situation, faculty and students can be quickly notified.”

The system also will be used to notify employees and students of non-emergency situations that will affect campuses and/or travels.

“For instance, in winter snow cancellations, AC Alert would be much faster than news channel cancellations,” Green said. “Or if there was a fire in a building, we could notify faculty and students to evacuate that building and stay away from it.”

“We know that it’s important to be able to alert faculty and students, and AC Alert is quick and efficient.”

Students interviewed both like the prospect of the new system.

“I think it’s great, because I live in Wildorado,” said Kayla White, a general studies major. “In the winter when it snows, I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to watch the news for cancellations and still be able to drive to school. AC Alert is faster and more accurate than waiting to see campus closing on the news.”

“It’s a good use of technology. The information travels much faster,” said Travis Sewell, a business administration major. “Think of how many lives could have been saved in situations like Virginia Tech if they had only known to evacuate and stay away from that building.”

White and Sewell both commented on the convenience of the text-messaging option.

“I don’t like answering the phone,” White said. “Text messages are so much easier.”

“Texting gets the information across a lot faster than dealing with a phone call,” Sewell said.

For more information on AC Alert or to update and edit an AC Alert account, go to www.actx.edu/acalert.