In less than one week, more than 4,000 students, faculty and staff have signed up for the new West Virginia University text message emergency notification system,WVU Alert,according to WVU officials.

This represents about 12 percent of the total number of students and employees on the Morgantown campus.

The Web-based systemintroduced by WVU President Mike Garrison and Department of Public Safety Chief Bob Roberts Oct. 12primarily uses text messages to alert the campus community to time-sensitive information from authorized campus officials, including weather-related closings and delays, crime and emergencies.

Students, faculty and staff can sign up for the service by entering their cell phone numbers and other information online.

We are very pleased to have more than 4,000 people register in such a short amount of time,Roberts said.This is a good beginning that we hope will encourage others to sign up for this important service.

To sign up for WVU Alert, faculty and staff should go tohttp://emergency.wvu.edu/alert/; students can sign onto Mountaineer Information Xpress (MIX) and click on the emergency alert system icon. (NOTE: If off-campus, people will be asked to supply their MASTERID .)

The instructions are self-explanatory; however, users should have their mobile phones handy in order to verify the access code once confirmation comes through. Besides the participant, the system also allows users to add one additional cell phone and e-mail address.

The system, powered by e2Campus and endorsed by the campus crime watchdog group, Security on Campus, is used by a number of colleges and universities across the country, Roberts noted.

WVU researched eight different companies and found this one to be the most efficient and reliable, he added,but it only works if people take the time to register, which only takes a couple of minutes to do.

The system is registered with every cell phone carrier in the country and takes only seconds to minutes to activate once the registration is complete.

Accounts can also be customized so that alerts can be received via e-mail on BlackBerry devices or personal digital assistants (PDAs); Google, Yahoo or AOL home pages; or through an RSS news aggregator.

Depending on the persons personal cell phone carrier, there may be a minimal fee from the carrier to receive text messages, but there is no charge from WVU .

Plans are also under way to offer the system to WVU s division/regional campuses.

In an emergency, more detailed information about the situation can also be found at http://emergency.wvu.edu/ .