Approximately 75 percent of the student body sign up for alerts, including the “GoMizzou” preparedness app
This past spring, college campuses across the United States buzzed with excitement about more than just the new semester and warmer weather. As college students returned from winter break, multiple ReadyCampus events helped students and their surrounding communities prepare for the potential hazards both on and off campus. In March, the University of Missouri (MU) in Columbia, MO, hosted their second ReadyCampus event series. Their event was among the millions of registered preparedness activities during the spring 2015 America’s PrepareAthon!SM ReadyCampus and America’s PrepareAthon! events recognize that in addition to preparing for classes, students need to be prepared for the hazards that can affect their school community.
Smart Preparedness through Emergency Alerts
The University of Missouri
MU’s ReadyCampus event coincided with the release of MU’s updated “GoMizzou” app for smartphones and tablets. The update included emergency alerts and information for students related to threats and hazards on campus.
Organizers excitedly reported that approximately 75 percent of the student body downloaded the app or signed up for their emergency alert programs, which notified students during MU’s text-based emergency alert system drill on March 5. That same day, the Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management also conducted a countywide tornado drill that sounded sirens on campus and throughout the surrounding community.
Approximately 75 percent of the MU student body signed up for alerts, including the updated “GoMizzou” app.
Students and Staff Stay Safe
MU hosted its ReadyCampus event series as part of its Safe Spring Break Symposium, a week-long program designed to help students prepare for severe weather and other hazards while on break.
The symposium brought together university and community organizations to conduct outreach and safety activities to the students and surrounding community.
Numerous MU campus and community organizations participated in this exciting event, including the Safe Mizzou Coalition, the Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management, the MU Department of Student Life, and many more. With a focus on action, MU coordinators divided the event into three different activities:
• An emergency alert system text-based drill;
• A preparedness pack outreach and giveaway; and
• An emergency and safety fair at the on-campus student union.
Holding three separate activities increased student involvement without increasing staff workload or resources required.
MU students participated in a virtual safe driving exercise during the Safe Spring Break Symposium emergency and safety fair.
Safe Mizzou Coalition Promotes Preparedness Packs to Students
During a series of events on March 10, MU hosted a preparedness pack outreach and giveaway at the campus student union. MU coordinators developed small preparedness kits for the student body funded by the Safe Mizzou Coalition, including energy bars, water, a small flashlight, a first aid kit, and other supplies that could serve as a foundation in developing a more robust emergency kit.
The event also featured outreach tables where students could sign up for the GoMizzou app and email listings for the local American Red Cross. Volunteers subsequently sent the students a link to download the app.
At MU’s final spring 2015 ReadyCampus event, an emergency and safety fair at the campus student union, students and staff distributed information and signed up students for preparedness apps. The fair also included preparedness items for students to add to their car and personal emergency kits.
Remaining Resilient through ReadyCampus
MU coordinators are developing a program to continue their preparedness efforts. Coordinators plan to incorporate partnerships from previous ReadyCampus events, including the Columbia Fire Department, which will conduct a fire extinguisher training and demonstrate fire dangers with an onsite burn room. As partners of the ReadyCampus program, local businesses, community organizations, and government agencies will unite to help spread preparedness information to the student body.