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Union launches text-messaging alert system

JACKSON, Tenn.March 3, 2008 – Union University launched a text-messaging alert system March 3 to inform students, parents and employees about emergencies on campus.

Called UUAlerts, the system will allow the university to send text messages to subscribers’ mobile phones in case of an emergency.

“Our campus has recently witnessed the quick and effective response of university and emergency personnel in the wake of the Feb. 5 tornado,” said Kimberly Thornbury, Union’s dean of students. “However, it is of vital importance to further implement tools to keep our campus secure in times of emergency.”

Union has been developing UUAlerts for several weeks, and was originally prepared to launch it Feb. 6. The Feb. 5 tornado that caused an estimated $40 million in damages to the campus delayed that launch.

UUAlerts is available to all students, faculty, staff and parents on Union’s Jackson, Germantown and Olford Center campuses. The system is voluntary, but Union is encouraging all students, faculty, staff and parents to register to receive text messages in the event of a campuswide emergency or a security or severe weather threat.

Registration is available at www.uu.edu/uualerts.com.

Thornbury said the university understands that many people pay to receive text messages, and that Union will use the system with discretion and only in the event of a high-level emergency that would require notification of the entire campus.

She added that that the system is an added layer of security, and that e-mail and the main Union Web site will remain the most reliable sources of information about security-related campus events.

If the Union Web site goes down in the event of an emergency, an alternate site – www.uuemergency.com – will be used to communicate emergency information.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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