Emergency communication service contract renewed


PULLMAN –  WSU has renewed its contract with Everbridge corporation to provide the university with emergency communication programs and services.
Committee review
WSU entered its original three-year contract with Everbridge (formerly the National Notification Network, or 3N) in September 2007. With the contract nearing its end, the university put together a committee in the spring of 2010 to assess the effectiveness of the Everbridge system, and determine whether WSU should extend its vendor contract.
The committee examined:
  • performance of Everbridge system
  • cost of the Everbridge system
  • the cost and effort that would be needed to change to a new vendor
The committee also met with Everbridge representatives regarding features WSU wants to encorporate in the future, whether Everbridge could develop them, and to determine what direction Everbridge will be going over the next several years.
After its review, the group decided “it was in the best interest of WSU to remain with Everbridge for the time being,” said Chris Tapfer, coordinator of the Office of Emergency Management. “The newly negotiated contract with Everbridge for Sept. 2010-2013, reflects no increases in annual costs.
WSU IT manages the university’s emergency communication database and the registration process. The database is uploaded dynamically to Everbridge to ensure that it is always current and capable of reaching registered members whenever needed. 
The Everbridge system provides WSU with offsite capabilities and backup for emergency and non-emergency communications. This allows the WSU Crisis Communication System and campus administrators to selectively contact students, faculty and staff on a global or independent basis — statewide, campus, college, department, extension office, research office, campus buildings, distance education, etc.
Multilevel communication
“Everbridge programs and services provide with WSU with a multilevel communication systems by which it can attempt to contact all registered faculty, staff and student members quickly and efficiently, using a variety of communications tools.”
The WSU Crisis Communication System currently includes more than 30,000 enrolled members who can be reached via:
  • voice messaging
  • mobile phones
  • landline telephones
  • text messaging
  • WSU e-mail
  • private e-mail
  • pagers
  • campus two-way radios
High participation
Students, faculty and staff register for the WSU Crisis Communication System via the myWSU portal.
“With the 30,000 members, WSU has a very high percentage of its students, faculty and staff registered for the system,” said Tapfer, about 95 percent. “Many other college campuses across the country consider themselves lucky if they can get 25-30 percent of their potential members enrolled.” 
Federal regulation
As with other institutes of higher education, WSU must comply with the terms outlined by the Jeanne Clery act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092 (f)), also known as the Clery Act, was originally established in 1990 and has been amended several times since. The most recent amendments in 2008 were made in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) enacted 8/14/2008. 
Under these federal regulations, WSU is required to be able to provide both emergency notifications, without delay, and timely warnings to the university community.
Many of the messages sent via the Everbridge system over the last several years were necessary to test the system and for WSU to be in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act.
For more information about the Everbridge system, contact Tapfer at tapfer@wsu.edu or 335-7471.