UT ready to use SMART text message alert system

Published May 11, 2007

TAMPA - The University of Tampa has a new alert system in place to send text messages to student and employee cell phones in case of campus emergencies.

The service will be used in addition to notification methods already in place, such as mass e-mails, said UT spokesman Grant Donaldson.

"This is just another layer of notification, " Donaldson said Wednesday. "It happens to probably be the fastest that we can employ, and that's good."

The University of South Florida has had a similar system in place since 2005, called MoBull Plus. At UT, it's called the Spartan Mobile Alert system, or SMART.

Donaldson said UT has had SMART in place for the past year to test it. Now the school is ready to promote it.

The provider is ReadyAlert, whose customers include the Coast Guard, All Children's Hospital and Pinellas County Emergency Management.

A year ago, university staffers had to go door to door to notify students when an escaped bank robber was roaming the campus, Donaldson said. Having the system in place can provide instant notification when something like that happens, he said.

UT students, faculty members and staffers can sign up for the text messaging service by calling the system from a cell phone and entering an access code. Complete instructions and the code are on the school's intranet, which can be accessed only by students and employees.

While the school won't charge for the service, regular text messaging fees through the cell phone service provider apply. More information about the SMART alert can be found at www.ut.edu/safety.

Kevin Graham can be reached at 813 226-3433 or kgraham@sptimes.com.