UW’s emergency text messaging has 10,000 subscribers and hopes for 10,000 more

WiscAlerts-Text, UW-Madison’s new emergency text-messaging service, reached the 10,000-subscriber mark on Aug. 5. The service, which launched in early May, has attracted steady interest from students, faculty and staff, matching the early expectations of system administrators.

“We want to thank campus for such a positive response to this service,” says Lt. Michael Newton of the University of Wisconsin Police Department. “Our next goal is to work hard to add another 10,000 users.”

One key difference between WiscAlerts-Text and text-messaging systems at other universities is that UW-Madison has relied on users to “opt-in” to use the service. The system can handle an unlimited number of users, with more being better for campus safety and security, Newton says.

Students, faculty and staff who have not yet enrolled can do so by logging into the My UW portal and looking for the WiscAlerts logo. Registration is simple and takes just a few moments.

In addition to the campus community, the service is also being offered to employees of UW-Madison-based campus affiliates, such as UW Hospital and Clinics, UW System administration, UW Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Association, UW-Extension and Colleges, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, UW Medical Foundation and campus consultants. Employees of those affiliates must have a valid Net ID to participate.

WiscAlerts-Text is free, but users will be responsible for normal short messaging service (SMS) charges from cellular providers. Once participants have registered a 10-digit mobile phone number, they will receive a confirmation message indicating they have successfully subscribed. If a confirmation text message is not received, users are advised to double-check the My UW portal to ensure that they have submitted a textable number.

For technical questions related to WiscAlerts-Text registration, contact the Division of Information Technology help desk at (608) 264-HELP or visit the My UW portal.