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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UAlerts now available for family members, near-campus residents

UAlert, the UA’s text message alert system, was recently opened to the public, allowing families of students and near-campus residents access to emergency notifications.

Before it was open to the public, the system could only be accessed through someone with a NetID, provided only to UA faculty, staff and students and designated family members. The new expansion has proven to be beneficial for some students.

“Both my mom and I get UAlert on our phones and it is nice to receive warnings of areas to avoid or just of what is happening on campus that may cause me problems,” said Caroline Shanholtz, a psychology and business administration junior.

The UAlert system is funded by the UA Campus Emergency Response Team and University Information Technology Services. The two departments also collaborate with the University of Arizona Police Department to alert users of issues across campus.

“UAlert is just one way to contact the vast majority of campus,” said UAPD’s Cmdr. Brian Seastone.

Seastone added that while the expansion is beneficial to the families of students and Tucson residents, the department is pleased that the system hasn’t had much cause for use.

The emergencies mentioned through the system are “more significant in nature,” said Matt Shepherd, an information technology support center specialist for UITS.

Emergencies worth alerting the campus about range from violent activity such as a shooting to health and safety hazards such as infectious diseases, to smaller issues like severe weather warnings and power outages.

Shepherd added that the alert messages “take the mystery out of things” and give users the most up-to-date information on every situation.

Some students agree that the system is effective and provides relevant information. “It is really helpful,” said Samantha Donaldson, a sophomore studying history and Spanish. “I think it is good because it provides important information to the people near U of A, not just U of A students.”

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