Community Colleges face various challenges and risks that can impact their students and operations, such as natural disasters, campus safety issues, policy changes and more. Therefore, educational institutions must provide timely and relevant information to protect their students, staff and faculty and effectively manage potential emergencies.
In today’s technology-driven world, one of the most efficient ways to quickly reach a large number of people, especially in emergencies, is through a mass notification system designed specifically for colleges and universities.
A mass notification system for educational institutions sends emergency alerts and vital information to students, faculty and staff, ensuring they receive messages wherever they are and in their preferred communication channels. By implementing a mass notification system, colleges and universities can reduce the likelihood of accidents, mitigate emergencies, improve campus safety and enhance overall productivity.
The importance of safety and security in higher education
College campuses are designed to create an open learning environment that offers students the freedom to begin handling life independently. And although students primarily feel safe on campus, safety issues arise in these open environments despite the safety measures and policies in place.
Ensuring the safety and security of students and staff is a top priority for colleges and universities. Unfortunately, concerns about safety on campus are always an issue, emphasizing the need for effective communication.
What are campuses concerned about?
- Their reputation and image. Families considering colleges will ask about the safety policies and services and may review the college’s annual security reports.
- How to reach students and staff during an emergency. Colleges and universities use various platforms to communicate potential or immediate dangers to their campus community. To ensure the safety and well-being of their students, faculty and staff, colleges rely on dependable software that enables them to send critical alerts to all relevant parties rapidly.
- Preparing for any emergency. Colleges and universities use threat and behavioral threat assessments to assess any potentially dangerous situation and person. From these assessments, colleges and universities create emergency plans and policies to handle any threatening situation. Read our Behavioral Threat Assessment blog post for more information on behavioral threat assessments.
- The most common crimes. All colleges must prepare for the most common campus crimes: forcible sexual assault, theft and burglary, bullying and hazing and drug crimes.
Statistics indicate growing concerns about college safety.
Recent incidents such as the stabbings of four University of Idaho students and a mass shooting at Michigan State University have raised concerns regarding the safety of college campuses. These events have sparked inquiries into the measures in place to ensure the well-being and security of students within higher education institutions.
- There has been a decline of approximately 32% in reported on-campus crimes and colleges and universities from 2001 to 2016; nevertheless, experts point out that numerous incidents of violence associated with educational institutions still go unreported to authorities.
- 27,300 criminal incidents were reported to police and security officials, equating to 18.7 on-campus crimes reported per full-time-equivalent (FTE) students. However, this does not reflect the number of unreported crimes.
- With violent crime rising in U.S. cities, college campuses need to prepare for acts of nearby violence and crime that make inroads into the campus.
Using a Mass Notification System
Implementing a mass notification system can help bridge communication gaps and provide a sense of security within the college or university campus. Colleges and universities use emergency alert and mass notification systems to quickly communicate important information during a crisis and for daily communications such as schedule changes and traffic updates.
Ten reasons to choose Regroup for your college
1. Simplicity and user-friendliness
Regroup’s platform and mobile app are specifically designed to be intuitive and easy to use. Automatic two-way database synchronization facilitates a quick setup for organizations. The user-friendly interface ensures that learning and utilizing the system both on desktop and mobile is efficient and straightforward. Additionally, pre-programmed QuickPost Templates enable fast information dissemination, providing clarity and communication and overcoming potential bottlenecks caused by miscommunication.
2. Supporting emergency and routine communication
Regroup caters to educational institutions’ communication needs by facilitating emergency alerts and routine messages. For example, colleges and universities can use Regroup to send notifications about HR policy changes, class updates, campus closures due to weather conditions and emergency alerts, like active shooter situations, natural disasters and public health warnings.
Effective communication during emergencies is crucial for maintaining campus safety and minimizing the impact on operations and individuals. Simultaneously, the flexibility of Regroup Mass Notification allows educational institutions to keep their students, faculty and staff informed about day-to-day matters fostering consistency, transparency and improved productivity.
3. Rapid message delivery
In a crisis, time is of the essence. Regroup ensures swift delivery of emergency alerts, which can help mitigate losses and protect lives and property. With a message throughput capacity of up to 80,000 texts/ SMS messages per minute, Regroup surpasses competitors’ capabilities. Timely communication during emergencies alleviates fear, reduces misunderstandings and enhances trust between the school and its community.
Regroup’s pricing is highly competitive compared to other mass notification system providers. While some providers charge high setup fees, integration add-ons and messaging or template packs, Regroup offers transparent pricing with no hidden monthly costs or upcharges. Furthermore, Regroup does not offer pre-made packages; instead, they provide access to all features on the platform.
5. Versatile API suite
Regroup’s API suite offers extensive integration capabilities allowing seamless two-way communication between Regroup and third-party systems. This empowers educational institutions to integrate Regroup with existing infrastructure technology and partner systems. Regroup and its partners can trigger each other’s systems to broadcast emergency and non-critical notifications manually or automatically. This integration ensures effective communication across various platforms, including PA systems, digital signage, fire panels, employee records management systems, HR and payroll systems, student information systems and more.
6. Multi-location threat intelligence
Regroup collaborates with TX360, a leading threat intelligence provider, to offer 24/7 monitoring of relevant information related to potential risks by proactively monitoring threats. As a result, educational institutions can stay ahead and maintain continuity of operations.
Threat intelligence is not limited to major crises like natural disasters but also extends to smaller-scale risks that can disrupt operations. For example, monitoring power utility status can help colleges and universities prepare for possible shutdowns. Regroup’s threat intelligence software filters and delivers relevant information to recipients enabling teams to prepare, respond and minimize the negative impact on lives and property during emergencies.
7. Customization to meet unique needs
Every college and university has distinct requirements when it comes to communication. Unlike other mass notification systems, Regroup offers customization options to cater to the unique needs of each educational institution. This tailored approach simplifies selecting the appropriate features and functionalities for effective communication. Regroup serves clients in various sectors, including education, and their extensive experience allows them to understand and meet each client’s specific needs.
8. Unlimited training and support
Regroup provides all clients with round-the-clock customer and technical support without any limitation on the number of hours. Their dedicated customer support agents are readily available via phone or email to assist with any inquiries, whether onboarding the system or sending an emergency alert. This unlimited support ensures that colleges and universities have the necessary assistance to utilize Regroup effectively.
9. Flexible contract terms
Regroup offers a minimum 12-month contract, giving organizations greater flexibility in their decision-making. Unlike providers that require longer commitments, Regroup’s shorter contract allows educational institutions to adapt to changing needs without being tied to a platform that no longer suits their requirements.
10. Weather service and public safety integration
Given the potential impact of natural disasters and severe weather on educational institutions, staying informed about eminent emergencies is crucial. Regroup partners with the National Weather Service (NWS) and is recognized as a weather radio-ready nation ambassador by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Through this integration, Regroup automatically sends real-time location-based watches or warnings and emergency alerts to team members across multiple channels, ensuring they are informed and can take necessary actions.
Regroup was among the first companies approved by FEMA’s national system for local alerting, the integrated public alert and warning system IPAWS. This recognition underscores Regroup’s commitment to providing authenticated emergency and life-saving information through various communication channels, including mobile phones, radio and television via the emergency alert system.
Regroup serves colleges and universities throughout North America. Some of the many success stories from Regroup clients include:
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College – With more than 10,000 students and ten campuses, each department uses Regroup, including student services, enrollment management, institutional advancement, emergency management, administration and finance and others. The college sought out a solution for daily mass notifications, including two-way communication, allowing faculty, safety officers and students to text back and forth.
Emily Carr University of Art +Design– When a particularly dangerous and icy snowstorm approached in February 2019, the university was able to quickly close the campus before daybreak in time to keep faculty, staff and students off the road and safe at home.
Regis University — As new and returning students and staff flooded back to campus, a cyber-attack took down the campus’s internet, email, telephones and website. In this instance, the campus safety department used Regroup’s mobile application to communicate with students, staff and the community.
Regroup enables higher education institutions to communicate better with their communities and respond faster when seconds count. Regroup makes it easy to reach students and faculty where they are and on the go. At the same time, students can report back time-sensitive and important information such as suspicious behavior and anonymous reporting.
Regroup Mass Notification was named the Platinum Winner for 2021 for its mass notification system from Secure Campus Awards by Campus Security & Life Safety magazine. Regroup’s award-winning mass notification platform is cost-effective, easy to use and works seamlessly with existing LMS software. Regroup also integrates into existing systems such as help point towers, fire and PA systems, digital signage, outdoor sirens and more. To learn more about Regroup Mass Notification, schedule a demo today.
Ready to see more? You can schedule a no-obligation demo of Regroup’s powerful notification system here.