New Year’s resolution: Update your emergency contact info

Rice employees and students who haven’t listed a cellphone number on their Emergency Notification form should make a New Year’s resolution to provide that info and update their Esther account before the holiday break.

Rice’s Crisis Management Team and the Rice University Police Department  (RUPD) will text urgent messages when there is a situation on campus that warrants immediate attention, such as a crime alert or other safety issue. If someone’s Emergency Notification form does not have a cellphone number listed, they will not receive such text messages.

For less-urgent matters, emails are used; but during campuswide power outages, employees and students may not be able to check their email unless they have access to their account via their mobile devices.

Aside from a test message each semester, the Crisis Management Team and RUPD issue text messages only when there’s an urgent need to communicate, so the cellphone numbers in the Emergency Notification database will be used on a very limited basis.

Because the Esther accounts are private, only students, faculty and staff can add their cellphone number to their accounts.

Employees and students can update their emergency contact info at esther.rice.edu. If they don’t know the PIN for their account, they can click on the “Forgot PIN” feature; employees can also send an email to people@rice.edu for help with their PIN; students can request help with their PIN at registrar@rice.edu.

All personal contact information is kept confidential. Faculty and staff with questions about how to fill out the form can contact Human Resources at 713-348-2514 (press 6 for an HR representative). Students can contact the Office of the Registrar at 713-348-4999 (press zero to speak to a representative).

Anyone who does not want Rice to contact them during an emergency can check the “opt out” box at the bottom of the Emergency Notification System form, but this could prevent them from getting critical notices, including campus closings. State law requires that students and employees renew this option at the start of every academic year if they want to continue to not participate in the emergency alert system.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.