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by Kerstin Kent

In an effort to better protect the students of HPU, the school put the RAVE alert system into effect last fall. The RAVE alert system sends a mass text message to all those registered in the case of an emergency. This system can alert students, faculty, and staff of tsunamis, hurricanes, acts of violence, fire, power outages, closed campuses, and any other unexpected circumstances.

“ After the Virginia Tech incident in spring of 2007, colleges across the nation realized we need to increase our awareness and protect the students and community,” says Lisa Doyle, the assistant director of the Center for Student Life and First-Year Programs. A subscriber of the system herself, she realizes how important it is for students to stay safe and acknowledges HPU’s responsibility to alert them of any potential dangers.

Doyle stresses that the system is not abused, there is no spam sent to cell phones, and unlike tornado warnings that are tested once a month, the RAVE system sends only one test message per semester. The system has only been used four times at HPU since it has been in effect. Three of them were tests. The fourth was sent last year, during a power outage at the Hawai‘i Loa campus. The text message alerted students the campus would be closed.
“ I actually had a colleague who had people from radio stations calling her to see if the campus was closed,” Doyle says. “It wasn’t until she got the text message confirming this that she was able to give them the official word.”

The RAVE system makes it easy to communicate a message to a large number of people at once. As Doyle says, take the more than 8,900 students enrolled at HPU, add onto that number the faculty and staff of HPU, and imagine being able to contact them all at once with just a few buttons. That is what the RAVE system can do.

“ I wanted to be informed about any possible dangers or violence that goes on,” says freshman Amelia Dubberly.

“More typical uses of the RAVE Alert system include informing a campus community of crimes that may threaten the community (robberies, assaults), weather emergencies and/or evacuation orders, or power outages and facilities information,” said Robert Jones, the director of marketing at RAVE Wireless. “For example, on the first day of classes last year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a man who had been a temporary university employee randomly stabbed a freshman in the neck on campus at the University Memorial Center. Officials issued a text message to RAVE Alert subscribers saying the suspect was in custody, and that more information would be posted later on a school Web site.”
With the technology improving daily, schools are working hard to keep up. The majority of college students have a cell phone that they keep with them on a regular basis. HPU takes advantage of that with RAVE Alert. While radio, television, and e-mail alerts are also used in the case of an emergency, a student must have access to power in order to receive any of those.
More than 85 colleges and universities use RAVE Wireless, including American University, Quinnipiac University, University of Louisville, and the University of South Florida.

RAVE Alert is controlled by RAVE Wireless. RAVE Wireless also offers two other mobile safety programs: RAVE Guardian and RAVE Transit. The RAVE Guardian can automatically send a user’s picture, mobile number, and other personal information to authorities if an emergency arises. Campus police can also locate students’ GPS location on campus through this. The RAVE Transit is used to locate shuttle busses off one’s mobile phone, so a safe location can be found while waiting for the bus. HPU does not offer these two options.

As of September 3, 2008, 1,312 HPU participants have signed up for RAVE Alert. All of HPU’s students are encouraged to sign up for this system. The alert system costs nothing, though standard text messaging rates do apply. While it is completely voluntary, it can be life saving.

“ I signed up for it so I could have emergency information at my fingertips,” says Elishia Tierney, HPU freshman.

“ It’s important for students to register for emergency text alerts because a timely warning with important information on what to do in the event of an emergency could save your life. Text alerts are a quick and effective way to receive the message,” says Jones.

Registering is quick and easy. Simply log into http://phone.hpu.edu, click on ‘join now’, enter your HPU Pipeline ID and your password, and fill in the information RAVE Wireless asks for. It takes only a few minutes and could be lifesaving in the future.

 

Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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