University emails only effective if students check for them

Haljit Basuljevic – Contributor

Campus alerts concerning inclement weather or criminal activity seem to only work if students are willing to devote more time to checking their email, or sign up for Southern Alert, the university’s security system.

It does not seem like many students are aware of the latter, which can be found on the university’s website. Southern Alert allows several delivery methods beyond email. However, some students new to Southern, such as myself, have more or less accepted the arduous task of checking our email every day. Those increasingly unfazed by this task will often find that notifications come up concisely and quickly as possible. Especially for any delays or closings, students are instantly updated of any changes.

I distinctly remember earlier in June receiving almost hour after hour updates on delays and closings. After about four or five emails, it became excessive and somewhat unnecessary, but it reflected the urgency that the school wanted to show for its staff and students.

For those who have not held up their end, well, you probably should. Of a sample pool of students, about half confessed that they either did not check their email at all, or checked it as sparsely as once a week. I think this is a bit bewildering. If they do not keep up, they might waste their time coming to school, only to find it closed.

Mind you, in some cases, it is very obvious when an oncoming blizzard will result in the school shutting down for the day. But what about a mild storm? A chemical spill? A series of bomb threats?

An imminent threat near or on campus must be communicated immediately. For this, fire alarms are pulled, and an evacuation procedure is commenced to ensure safety. Afterwards, campus alerts are then sent out to ensure that everyone has the best means to safety. After receiving the message, faculty and students can then connect to campus police dispatchers by blue emergency telephones dispersed throughout campus.

If there is a little glitch in the system, it can be attributed to a lack of transparency. For first-timers here, it would be to nice get an email reinforcing the security and safety features provided at the school. I did not truly know of Southern Alert or any of the procedures, until I decided to do some exploring.

Such incidents are so few and far between, that those who do keep a close eye at least can inform their classmates to become more cautious about certain situations. For instance, a thief in the midst is better spotted, when everybody in the vicinity is aware that multiple robberies were happening a few days prior. That is where campus alerts can become most effective, students informing one another.

To close I offer a reminder from one student to another: Take full responsibility when it comes to staying on top of what is most important. Safety issue, or not, be cognizant of your community, and check your emails.


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