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Oregon University System Selects Service to Improve Campus Emergency Preparedness and Communication


Contact: Di Saunders; Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869
Source: George Marlton: 541-346-5748

New communication system will quickly reach campus community during emergency situations

Portland, Oregon, July 17 – The Oregon University System (OUS) announced today its selection of the Connect-ED® communication service from Blackboard Inc. to provide universities with the ability to quickly reach students, faculty and staff with alerts and time-sensitive information in the event of an emergency. 

"The Alert and Notification System will be an extremely useful tool in any emergency situation that affects any one of the Oregon universities,” said Eric Rodriguez, co-director of campus public safety at Southern Oregon University. “This system gives us the ability to communicate quickly and comprehensively with our students, faculty and staff whether they are on campus, on their way to campus, or elsewhere." 

The notification service enables campuses to schedule, send, and track personalized voice messages at up to six phone numbers and two e-mail addresses per student, faculty and staff member. Over all, the service helps universities reach out to students and staff via:

  • Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones and even e-mail addresses;
  • Text messages to cell phones, e-mail accounts, PDAs, networked digital signage and other text-receiving devices; and
  • Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired.

The OUS worked with Portland Community College, Southern Oregon University, Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Oregon State University to select the service, which allows any institution of higher education in the state of Oregon to participate. This group of institutions will be among the first to implement the system on their campuses. Testing of the service will begin this fall to ensure that students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to provide their current contact information, including home phones, cell phones and e-mail addresses, so that they are prepared for these important notifications.

“Proactive and real-time communications are critical before, during and after an emergency situation,” said George Pernsteiner, OUS chancellor.  “We felt it was important to make this alert system available across the state to those campuses where it best suited their communication needs.  By coordinating the purchase of the notification system it is possible for even the smaller institutions to afford this service, be prepared for emergencies, and be able to notify their campus community quickly and accurately when time and information outreach are critical.” 

About the Oregon University System
Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu 

About the Connect-ED Service
The Connect-ED® service is provided by Blackboard Connect Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB).. The Connect platform is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that has been in service since early 2001 and includes the Connect-ED, Connect-CTY®, Connect-GOV®, and Connect-MIL® systems. In 2007, the Connect platform was used by over 20,500 active sites to send over 240 million voice calls and over 17 million e-mail and SMS messages to constituents.  For additional information, go to www.blackboardconnect.com

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