University to test VT Alerts notification system this week

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 8, 2007 – This past summer, Virginia Tech deployed several new urgent communication methods as part of a new system called "VT Alerts." New methods include text messaging, instant messaging, phone numbers, and non-VT e-mail. During the week of Oct. 8, the university will conduct a university-wide test of the new VT Alerts system.

The test will occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. anytime from Tuesday, Oct. 9, through Friday, Oct. 12. The exact day or time will not be revealed in order to have as realistic a test as possible.

Virginia Tech is pleased that nearly 18,000 students, faculty, and staff – more than half of the university community – have subscribed to VT Alerts in just three months. Students, faculty and staff who have not subscribed to VT Alerts may still do so by visiting the VT Alerts website and following the instructions.

Here’s how one will be able to identify the message as coming from VT Alerts:

The message sender will appear as follows:

For an IM [Please see NOTES ABOUT IM below]:

The subject line for the test message will be “TEST: VT Alerts.”

The message will start, “This is a test of the VT Alerts system …”

NOTES ABOUT IM: In order to receive an IM from VT Alerts, one must configure one’s privacy settings in their IM service tool. Please read the special instructions.

3n (National Notification Network), the company that delivers messages for VT Alerts, has identified an issue on its system that may prevent delivery to AOL’s AIM service. If AIM is listed as one’s only VT Alerts contact method, users are encourage to add another method to their account by visiting VT Alerts and clicking the “Manage Your Account” link.

To deliver the alert message, the VT Alerts system will begin cycling through the points of contact listed for one’s account, starting with the first available.

At the end of the message, recipients will be prompted to confirm receipt. For the purposes of this test, it is extremely important for recipients to provide the requested confirmation, as that is the only way the university will know if messages have been received.

PLEASE NOTE: Those who receive alerts via e-mail or IM will be provided a link to confirm receipt. When one clicks on the link, the user will be taken to a page hosted by 3n (National Notification Network).

PLEASE NOTE: VT Alerts is intended to communicate urgent information to students, faculty, and staff on campus during an emergency. For that reason, it is very important that one carefully considers one’s points of contact. If a user has included parents, spouses, or others among your points of contact, the university strongly suggests listing one’s self as the first point of contact. To review your account, visit the VT Alerts website and click on the “Manage Your Account” link.

If you registered anyone other than yourself to receive these alert notifications via phone, text message, or e-mail, please inform them of the upcoming test.

If you do not receive the alert message during the test, please go to the VT Alerts website and click on the “Manage Your Account” link to verify that the entered information is correct. If the information is correct, or if you encounter any other issues, please contact 4Help at 540/231-HELP (4357).

For more general information about VT Alerts, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.