Alert EIU notifies students of threats to safety

Kristen Ed, Managing Editor

Students, faculty and staff can quickly become aware of any hazards to Eastern’s campus through Alert EIU.

Alert EIU is a communication tool that sends information about urgent threats or situations to all students, faculty and staff through their Eastern email accounts automatically.

Lynette Drake, the interim vice president for Student Affairs, said people can take it a step further by registering with up to two phone numbers and an additional email address.

She said it is beneficial for students to opt in with their phone numbers.

“You’re probably not checking your email all the time,” Drake said, “whereas you might be checking your text messaging more frequently.”

Drake said the tool has been used to notify students about weather-related class cancellations, boil order alerts and imminent threats to the university community.

University Police Chief Kent Martin said in the event of a crime that could pose a threat to campus, the university police would work with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs to send out a crime alert.

“We would compose a message that would contain information that people would need to know in order to stay safe in a given area, or to be more vigilant in a certain area,” Martin said.

He said being notified if something dangerous happens is one part of the crime alerts, but the alerts also include “general information for the overall safety and well-being of people on the campus.”

Drake said students should have received information about Alert EIU and an invitation to register in their email accounts at the start of the semester. Students can access the Alert EIU member portal at

Drake said the ultimate goal is to spread information about hazards as quickly as possible to as many people as possible. Once people receive the alert, that message can be shared to those who have not yet been made aware.

“One of the nice things about Alert EIU is that, because it does come via email and it does come as a text message for those people who are enrolled in it, is that many times our students and our faculty and staff have a network of friends and family, but particularly friends, that may also give them a call or they might be with at the time,” she said.

Martin said depending on the nature of the situation, sirens on campus may also be used to send out a message during an emergency.

Drake said in the event of weather-related class cancellations, information will also be posted on the main page of Eastern’s website in addition to the weather page on the website, where information about off-campus cancellations is also available.

She said students can change the information on their Alert EIU profiles at any point. At the end of an academic term, students who are no longer signed up for classes will automatically stop receiving notifications.

“I think everybody should be signed up for Alert EIU,” Drake said. “There’s no reason not to.”

Kristen Ed can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].