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Emergency Text Messaging Service Available Free to Universities Nationwide
Posted: 19-Apr-2007 [Source: Mobile Campus]

[Mobile Campus announces free service capable of immediately and simultaneously sending SMS alerts to university students and employees via cell phones.]

Austin -- With universities nationwide seeking an immediate solution to emergency campus alerts in the wake of the Virginia Tech University tragedy, Mobile Campus today announced availability of a free service capable of immediately and simultaneously alerting students, university employees and others via text messages on cell phones. This service has already been deployed on 11 major campuses and is being used successfully for real-time emergency alerts at schools such as the University of Texas, University of Florida and Kent State University.

Mobile Campus offers its service free of charge to all students and university employees at every campus on which it operates. While the system can be used for a variety of important communications and notifications, including promotional offers, Mobile Campus has decided, in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, to make the service available to students and others who want to opt into the system only for emergency alerts.

"Along with all Americans and people around the world, we are deeply saddened and concerned about the terrible incident that occurred at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University this week," said George Tingo, President and CEO of Mobile Campus. "We know university administrators nationwide are seeking solutions, including answers to how they can more effectively communicate with students and college communities in times of emergency. Mobile Campus offers an important and critical solution to this dilemma."

Mobile Campus allows administrators and other qualified and approved groups on campus to send group SMS (Short Message Service) messages via the one device that students, faculty and employees carry with them at all times, their cell phones. The rapidly deployable system, which is provided at no cost or IT burden to universities, is already being successfully used as an emergency alert system. For example, the University of Texas, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Kent State University, and Clemson University have all used Mobile Campus to notify students of school closures due to weather emergencies.

"Mobile Campus is an excellent communications tool for our emergency notification system," said Rhonda Weldon, director of communications at the University of Texas. "We know most students carry their cell phones with them and the simultaneous text message alert has been very effective for sending campus closure messages. We have integrated Mobile Campus into all of our emergency preparedness plans and will continue to use it along with many other tools for crisis communications."

There are more than 17 million college students at over 4,200 schools throughout the United States, and an estimated 94 percent of them carry cell phones. As result, Mobile Campus believes SMS notification networks represent the single, best answer to emergency communications and alerts for students. The company is currently in talks with more than 60 universities around the country about deploying its free service and expects to be live on at least 50 campuses by the end of 2007. The company is also working with major wireless carriers on plans for additional campus implementations nationwide.

"The Virginia Tech tragedy, in all its horror, points out the need for a system such as Mobile Campus -- not just in the case of extreme tragedy such as this, or extreme forces of nature such as a hurricanes, but for the myriad other issues in modern life that require rapid communication," said Tingo. "There are many circumstances in which rapid communication can save lives, from weather-related incidents, to terrorist attacks, riots, police actions, rape, robbery and fire. If a school can save one life or avoid one serious injury or trauma by deploying a system like ours, it should do so."

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