CUNY Alert Saves Day at QCC

CUNY Alert logoA powerful, fast-moving, mid-summer electrical storm drenched transformers in an underground vault by the main gate at Queensborough Community College last month, destroying them in a 4 foot-high flood of water.

All power was lost to the Administration, Library, Science and Humanities Buildings prompting officials to close the college for a day.

But thanks to CUNY Alert, most students and staff were saved the trouble of a needless trip to campus because they got the news that evening. When repairs were made and power restored, they were notified via CUNY Alert the night before the college re-opened.

CUNY Alert was launched last spring, a reaction in part to school shootings across the country when universities realized they needed a way to quickly notify students and teachers about danger on campus. In a very short time CUNY Alert, perhaps the country's most comprehensive collegiate emergency notification system, is also becoming an important tool for communicating weather-related closings, public safety issues and other emergencies.

Each college decides when to message its community with real-time information about campus-specific events. Occasionally, some alerts will be issued university-wide. Enrolled students, including continuing education students, faculty staff and other members of the campus community are eligible to sign up.

Messages are transmitted by cell phones, e-mail and land-line telephone. Cell phones can receive text messages and voice messages. Participants can also receive multiple contacts for the same message.

But in order to take advantage of the system, students and staff have to sign up for it. So far, more than 70,000 are participating, and more students and faculty are signing up this fall.

"If you have not already done so, register for CUNY Alert," advised Vice President Diane Call in a message to QCC faculty and staff. "Its value and effectiveness in communicating information to the College community during an emergency was demonstrated during this time."

To sign up, visit www.cuny.edu/alert. Registrants are asked to provide at least one email address. For text message alerts, a cell phone number and a provider to receive text message alerts may be listed. To receive voice alerts, a phone number — either a cell phone or land line — may be listed.