On Monday, Dec. 4, Katie Horst, a University of Maine junior nursing major, unexpectedly became the owner of a new iPhone. The drawing was held by the UMaine.txt program to gain awareness for the new emergency warning system and encourage students to sign up.
UMaine.txt is one of the University of Maine’s newest forms of security in response to rising health and safety concerns. Once registered with UMaine.txt, students will receive emergency text and e-mail messages alerting them of any danger. Optional notifications, such as cancellations due to bad weather, can also be sent out through UMaine.txt.
“The possibility exists that the University could one day be subject to an attack and this program represents the very best way to reach students in the case of an emergency,” said Director of University Relations, Joe Carr. If there is a threat of danger, the campus-wide siren will sound, alerting students and staff to check their cell phones, e-mails and UMaine.edu. If for some reason, these options are unavailable, 581-INFO will have a recorded message.
The idea to give away an iPhone came from the University of Maine’s President, Robert Kennedy. “We originally intended on purchasing the phone,” Carr said. “But when Apple, Inc. Representative, Doug Marchio, generously offered to donate it, we happily accepted.”
As for Katie Horst, she was surprised when she learned of her winning. “I had no clue until I got an e-mail saying I won the phone. Even then I had no idea why I had won it until I checked out the UMaine Web site.”
Other students had similar reactions when asked if they knew about a drawing for an iPhone. Kim Preble signed up with her roommate a week earlier without any knowledge of the contest. A couple of students who did not sign up with UMaine.txt said they wished they had known about it, but will probably still sign up anyway.
Still, many other students did hear about the drawing, as the number of registered students recently rose from 3,000 to 5,000.
“I am very pleased with the response the drawing has had on registration,” Carr said, “which is wonderful but still far shorter than where we ideally want to be.”
Students and staff are strongly encouraged to register their cell phone numbers with the free UMaine.txt program at: www.umaine.edu/umainetxt/. The purpose is for community safety and the information will not be used for any other purpose. More information is at The Emergency Preparedness page: www.umaine.edu/emergency.