Students encouraged to sign up for Heights Alert

Aubrey Zych, Staff Writer

 

With temperatures outside decreasing, and the number of thefts on campus increasing, the Le Moyne Security Office is encouraging students to take advantage of the free emergency notification system, Heights Alert.

The Heights Alert system is designed to be an immediate notification system to alert the community in the event of an emergency. Students who choose to sign up for this feature will receive text messages to their cell phones in the event of an emergency, which includes anything from a campus lock-down to school-wide cancellations due to weather.

John O’Brien, director of Security, stated that too few students are taking advantage of this free service.

“Currently, less than a thousand students are signed up for the feature,” he said.

Many students, however, have claimed that the feature is too difficult to sign up for. Sophomore Kathleen McCarthy said that she tried signing up for the feature, but gave up due to confusion.

“I kept having to confirm text messages, and then re-enter information. I eventually just gave up.”

O’Brien sympathized with frustrated students, saying, “The system isn’t perfect, but signing up should not take more than a few minutes, and should be relatively easy. The system is meant to warn students in the event of an emergency, and give them further instructions on what to do. It’s a much more efficient system than email.”

Nour el Houda Sahraoui, a representative from the Student Government Association suggested the SGA set up a table with laptops outside the cafeteria for several days to encourage students to sign up on their way to lunch.

“I have been meaning to sign up for the feature, but kept saying ‘I’ll do it later,’” she said. “If I had a laptop ready to go for me on my way to lunch, I’d take the five minutes out of my day to sign up.”

She also suggested incorporating the Heights Alert registration into Student Orientation.

“Freshmen have to sign up for so many new things, and fill out so many forms,” Sahraoui added. “Why not include Heights Alert registration with it?”

However, even if students did begin signing up for Heights Alert, many students have complained that it is used so little, it does not even seem worth the trouble.

“I signed up for Heights Alert when I was a freshman. But I’ve never received a text message since then,” said sophomore Allison Herholtz.

In the past year, Heights Alert has only sent out three text messages to students.

“The Security Office isn’t trying to send out daily text messages to annoy students. We only want to send out messages in the case of extreme emergencies,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien also stated that, if more students signed up and took advantage of the feature, they would be more likely to use it.

“We don’t see the point in sending out a message that will only contact 25 percent of the school, which is why we have stuck with emailing. We’d like to see more student involvement first,” he explained

Signing up for Heights Alert only takes a few minutes. To sign up, students will need to sign into ECHO, then click on the “Create an Account” button under the Heights Alert tab. Students will also need to confirm their cell phone number via a validation code sent directly to their phone.