Minnesota Students Help Avert Flood Catastrophe

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When a crisis strikes a community as it has with the massive flooding now taking place on both sides of the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota, people can feel overwhelmed even helpless as they try to cope under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Homes are threatened, livestock is lost and people’s lives are turned upside down, sometimes permanently when a disaster strikes.

Metro FargoOn the Minnesota side of the Red River, students from the University of Minnesota at Moorhead (MSUM) have been providing help, recruiting as many as 20,000 volunteers to save their city from destructive flooding. Earlier this month, students pitched in to hold back what has been called a 100-year flood, but they’ll be mobilizing again over the next week when freshly melting snows contribute to what looks to be a 500-year flood, the worst of its kind since Europeans first began to settle in America.

Tapping An Emergency Alert System

MSUM used an emergency notification system, e2Campus to tell the campus community what was going on in relationship to the flooding. By sending emails, text messages, making phone calls and posting information online, the 7500 student body was kept safe, allowing the school to quickly close down residential halls and the campus. As conditions rapidly deteriorated, the school sent additional alerts while asking for student volunteers to help with sandbagging.

The e2Campus alert system had a profound impact on the university as the campus was evacuated quickly and in an orderly fashion. In addition, hundreds of students quickly showed up to help out with sandbagging, laboring alongside tired volunteers who were relieved and thrilled to see the additional help.

Quick Alerts Equals Fast Action

MSUM administrators say that they sent out a total of fifteen alerts during the crisis and anticipate that they’ll be using the system again next week when even worse flooding is expected. School officials credit the alert system with helping to mobilize as many as 20,000 volunteers who stacked over one million sandbags. Because of their diligence, two-thirds of the city was believed to have been spared.

Campus wide alert systems have grown in importance ever since the Virginia Tech massacre of April 2007 which left more than thirty students, faculty and the gunman dead. The e2Campus alert system is currently used at more than six hundred schools across the country, able to send news out instantly and simultaneously via phone, email, computer desktop, RSS reader and more. In addition, the alert system works in conjunction with loudspeakers, fire/security systems, alert beacons, etc.

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Wikipedia Photo Credit: Frank12

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Categories: Campus News