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Check Messages: TXT-U Adds Another Dimension to U of M, Crookston
February 14, 2008

Contact: Krista Lemos, director of communications, 218-281-8438 (klemos@umn.edu), Jeff Sperling, technology support services director, 218-281-8373 (sperling@umn.edu)


CROOKSTON, Minn. (February 12, 2008) – The University of Minnesota, Crookston will start using text messages to notify students, staff and faculty of emergencies and campus closings. The new service, TXT-U, is live as of Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Individuals who sign up for TXT-U will receive text messages on their cell phones and PDAs indicating an emergency and what steps should be taken to ensure the safest possible outcome. Text messaging notification is just one of several tools the university uses to alert the campus community about emergencies. Other ways include using on-the-ground public safety personnel, e-mail and the Web site, www.UMCrookston.edu. Tone alert radios are also scheduled to be stationed around campus in the near future.

“The safety and security of the university community is our top priority,” said Technology Support Services Director Jeff Sperling, who has worked with a U of M team to implement the system on the Crookston campus. “Text messaging is a quick way to reach people, immediately no matter where they are. It's also become one of the most common ways students communicate with each other, making it another important way to notify the campus community about emergencies.

TXT-U service is fueled by WENS (Wireless Emergency Notification System) technology, a product provided by Inspiron Logistics. It is fast and reliable because it uses true text messaging or SMS (short message service) technology to ensure message delivery in times of crisis. The system sends messages with a “Tier 1 priority” for all major American mobile carriers and is capable of sending 30,000 text messages per minute. WENS is spam-free and advertiser free, ensuring that it is only used in real emergencies.
Students, faculty and staff can sign up parents and other family members for TXT-U. To register, visit http://www.UMCrookston.edu/TXTU.

The University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. Invent yourself at the University of Minnesota, Crookston – become a leader, innovate through technology and research and secure the career you want. To learn more, visit www.UMCrookston.edu.