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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak, D.Sc.

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel, Ph.D.

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Effect of a Marketing Program on Freshman Student Registration for an Emergency Notification System

Thomas Johnson1

1Western Carolina University

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Volume 9, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: 10.1515/1547-7355.1938, May 2012

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Encouraging freshman students to register for a campus’s emergency notification system (ENS) is challenging for many colleges and universities. Many institutions have opt-in systems that require students to register and subscribe to emergency notifications. However, many students choose not to register and subscribe to an ENS despite violent active shooter events at institutions such as Virginia Tech University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, and Northern Illinois University. Of particular interest to many institutions is encouraging freshman students to register for an ENS. Generally, most freshman students move away from home for the first time to attend a college and university. They are a vulnerable population since they are use to a family structure that helps protect them. Most colleges and universities have student development programs that help freshman students learn personal protection skills that include registering for the ENS. However, despite these programs, many freshman students still do not register for their institution’s ENS. This paper explores the use of a marketing program that encourages freshman students to register for an ENS. This paper reports the results of the number of freshman students who registered for a university’s ENS. Additionally, this paper reports the results of a series of interviews conducted with freshman students who registered or did not register for the ENS. The results suggest that a marketing program can improve freshman student registration for an ENS. However, the marketing program should also target the parents and significant referents of the freshman students. Additionally, the marketing program should emphasize ENS registration as a valued behavior for freshman students. Finally, the ENS system should contain the features desired by freshman students in an ENS, and the registration process should be easy and simple.

Keywords: emergency nontification system; ENS; emergency communications; campus safety

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