|by Osamu Makiguchi
Mass messaging at UH encompasses emergency alerts to students, faculty, and staff via text messaging; email or phone alerts; campuswide announcements via email; and Listserv email mailing lists for small and large working groups.
Emergency alerts are foremost in the news due to recent tragic campus incidents on the mainland. "UH Alert" was set up by ITS to address emergency messaging needs for urgent health and safety communications. UH Alert is comprised of two different systems, one for notifying faculty and staff and another for notifying students.
UH Alert for faculty and staff can alert users via text messages to cell phones, recorded voice notification to up to six phone numbers and email communications to UH email accounts or even non-UH email accounts. The university tested UH Alert for faculty and staff on February 20 this year. The initial test of UH Alert for faculty and staff was quite successful. At the time of the test 2,800 faculty and staff had signed up for the service. Fifty-seven hundred phone calls were delivered to people or answering machines, 3,800 email messages were sent, and 1,000 text messages were sent to mobile phones.
UH Alert for students is now available for all students within the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaii system. Currently, UH Alert for students only supports text messaging to mobile phones. Students were invited to subscribe to UH Alert for students starting February 28.
Everyone in the UH community is encouraged to subscribe to UH Alert. More information and subscription sign-up can be found at https://www.hawaii.edu/alert.
Another way to reach the UH community is through the UH Email Broadcast Service developed by ITS. The Broadcast Service is primarily used to send non-emergency related informational email to UH users across the entire UH system or at the campus level. Email can be targeted to distinct groups such as sending email to only students at a specific campus, faculty and staff at a specific campus, or a combination of groups.
The Broadcast Service allows UH units to send notices and announcements that may be of interest to the UH community. Units wanting to send notices through this service must obtain approval from the appropriate office found in the table of approving authorities on the Broadcast Service site: http://www.hawaii.edu/broadcast.
ITS also maintains a Listserv service for UH faculty and staff to personally maintain email lists. Listserv lists range from a handful of email addresses to several hundred email addresses. UH units, faculty and staff use Listserv for a variety of purposes from maintaining a list of registered students in a specific graduate program to providing information to the public regarding a specific research program.
Listserv lists can be managed either through email or through a web-based interface. You must have a UH Username to request and maintain a list and the list must be related to a UH program or activity. Although, you must have a UH Username to create a list, anyone outside the UH community with a non-UH email address may join a list if you desire. More information on the UH Listserv service can be found here: http://listserv.hawaii.edu
A new service that ITS will deliver sometime in 2008 will be a departmental text messaging service. Departments will be able to setup their own list of users to be able to text message small groups from one web interface. As technology develops and needs change, ITS will continue to research and offer various mass messaging options.