Students should give DPS a Jyngle

Ken Kennedy - Director of Public Safety

Ken Kennedy – Director of Public Safety

Ken Kennedy

Since the Virginia Tech University incident, most students are more concerned about their safety on campus than ever before. Some have faulted the police department on the campus of Virginia Tech for not notifying everyone immediately about a potential danger. Regardless of whether that is justified based on what was known at the time, one thing is clear. If a similar incident occurs on any campus, every attempt will be made to do mass notifications.

Numerous companies are trying to make money by offering mass notification systems to meet that need, but here at Missouri Southern, we have located a company that has agreed to offer us mass notification capabilities for free. A quality product for free – that is indeed a good thing to find.

The Jyngle company recognizes that college and university campuses often don’t have funds budgeted for an emergency notification system, so they are offering to set up systems for campuses and even send out actual emergency messages absolutely free.

Once the administration bought off on the idea, we entered into a contract with Jyngle and started asking students to give us their cell phone numbers. During the summer months the response was low. We attributed this apathy with fairly low summer enrollment and lack of time.

The problem is that we sent out another request for student cell numbers at the beginning of the fall semester and we are still only at about 20 percent participation. So, I started thinking, “What can I do to get students to send us their cell numbers?” Should we raffle off a “get out of tickets free card?” How about free rides on a Gator from class to class for a month? Maybe a 10 percent point bonus in every class for all who participate?

Then I realized that most University students are at or above average intelligence and just telling them that “if they give us their cell numbers they WILL be contacted in the event of an active shooter on campus or the imminent threat of a tornado,” should be enough incentive.

To be clear, text messages to cell phones is not the only system we have to notify everyone in the event of an emergency. We have a phone “ring-down” system in which nearly every phone in a building can be called at once, getting out an emergency message in a matter of minutes. We have the capability to send out an e-mail to every student at once with critical information. Finally, the news media in our area are very helpful with disseminating an emergency message whenever needed.

It’s not too late. Send us your cell number so that we can add you to the Jyngle system at [email protected]