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Administration aims to communicate effectively through new emergency webpage

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A screenshot taken May 22 of the warning website depicting thhat there are currently no emergencies.
A screenshot of the new warning page created by Texas State administration and media relations officials.

A university safety and emergency communications webpage went live May 3, with the intention of providing better updates for students during urgent situations.

University Marketing designed and developed the webpage. They aimed to make the site a central location for all safety-related information while acting as another resource for emergency situation updates. The webpage comes after years of complaints by students during floods, storms and other emergencies. Students take to social media often to voice their concern and confusion over administrative communication.

Jayme Blaschke, office of media relations director, said the webpage is mainly a supplement to the other means of communications already available.

“The page is more than just a live communication avenue; it is an authoritative site,” Blaschke said. “It is also a resource site that allows you to connect to the Alert System, give you contact information and other safety resources.”

General safety information will be updated by University Police. However, in an emergency, the Rapid Response Team will take over the site with the help of a University Marketing representative. Captain Rickey Lattie, interim director of University Police, said the page is managed by Instructional Technology Services and University Marketing.

“We do not have direct editing access to the page,” Lattie said. “We submit our information to Marketing who then updates the page. However, some of the feed is automatically updated through the page’s connection with the University Emergency system.”

The platform has been in the works since late January and will update students, faculty and staff about all emergency situations, including inclement weather and street closures. The page will provide links to social media accounts on campus, in the city and county pertaining to emergency updates. Important phone numbers and links to specific pages that offer safety resources will be available on the site.

According to Joanne Smith, Vice President of Student Affairs, the idea of the webpage was first brought to her attention about a year ago via Student Government representatives and students on campus.

“The students stated they wanted a place for all information to be gathered, rather than having to go from site to site,” Smith said. “This is our attempt to try and get all resources in one place for students, faculty and parents.”

In 2015-16, Student Government President Lauren Stotler’s administration passed a resolution supporting an increased number of provided safety protocols for on-campus residents. This included response training for emergency situations. The resolution was authored by then-senators Melissa Aylward, Christian Carlson, Lindsay Escalante and Samantha Martinez.

Although the idea started as a collaboration between the Emergency Services Coordinator and the Department of Housing and Residential Life, the discussion became broader and branched out to other departments. University Police, University Marketing, Parent and Family Relations and Dean of Students all collaborated. This resulted in the creation of the page, which consolidates campus protocols and emergency responses.

Smith said she hopes this website will make it easier for people to see the status of emergencies as they occur on campus.

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