Colleges around the U.S. now use social media along with other outlets to tell to their students about events going on, whether it’s a mass gunman or school closures.
When comparing social media like Facebook and Twitter to Wesleyan Emergency Management System) you need to look at who is actually on social media and also whether or not English is their second language.
At Texas Wesleyan we have foreign exchange students whose primary language isn’t English, so when Texas Wesleyan sent out an email about a gas leak last semester who translated the message to these students?
Kristi Taylor, who is currently completing her undergrad for Counseling, expressed her concern about how student contact when an emergency occurs.
“I think alerting us through social media is ineffective, she said. “I get more updates from IT of fraudulent emails and such which is great, I don’t mind the emails but I would prefer a text alert.”
Last semester Tarrant County College’s Trinity River Campus went into lockdown when a suspect fled from police. You can take a look at TCC’s twitter page at that moment and see that the school was on lock down.
Along with using social media, TCC also sent text alerts, emails and used display boards across the campus that informed the students about the situation.
Jordan Silver a senior exercise major at the University of Texas in Arlington said, “I prefer to be contacted through email or text when something occurs.”
In a previous issue of The Rambler, a story stated that students were automatically enrolled into WEMS, students however are only enrolled into WEMS with their email address not their phone number.
Service Desk Analyst Abbey R. Wilson walked me through some steps to make sure the correct number was on file.
When logging onto your Web advisor click on the link were it shows address change then make sure your number is correct. You also should see if the number on file is your cell phone number versus your house phone.
It doesn’t stop there. Wesleyans Blake O. Bumbard took the time to help me enroll into WEMS text alerts.
The first thing you have to do is going to the Texas Wesleyan home page and click on the tab campus life and then campus security.
After that you will need to click on Wesleyan Emergency Management System when you look down click on the link to navigate to WEMS.
This will take you to a page where you will need to log in using your school email. If you have trouble logging on, just reset the password and you will be good to go.
When comparing social media among the schools TCC, UT-Arlington and Texas Wesleyan you can see that it utilizes it in different ways.
UTA uses Facebook to tell students about events going on; TCC used social media to let know students when law enforcement was looking for a suspect at their downtown place; and Texas Wesleyan used social media to tell students about the gas leak last semester.
Social media is not better than text alerts or vice versa. Having multiple outlets for students will get your message across efficiently.
Stay tuned for the next part of the series about training now required for faculty and staff on emergency procedures along with students’ concerns and how safe they really feel on campus.
If you have any suggestions on how campus safety can improve, whether it is more lights outside or if the WEMS messaging system can be tested weekly, contact the Rambler at Therambler.org or on Facebook, where feedback is welcome.