By Taylor Forrest
Convergent Copy Editor

Mass shootings in the United States have become something of a tragic regularity. Despite this phenomenon, we never expect it to happen to us, especially here in small-town Kansas.

But last week proved that tragedy can strike anywhere.

Last Thursday in Hesston, Cedric Ford strolled into his workplace, Excel Industries, with an AK-47, shot and killed 3 individuals and injured 14 more before he was stopped and killed by law enforcement.

The mass shooting put the Kansas town of 3,700 on alert, and caused the local community college, Hesston College, to go on lock-down after being informed by local law enforcement of the dangerous situation.

The proximity of this deadly and shocking mass shooting puts emergencies like this in perspective. Following the realization that these deadly attacks and other emergency situations can take place anywhere, it is imperative to be prepared.

If Southwestern were to be placed on lock-down, the school takes a number of measures in order to get the word out to students, faculty and staff. They are:

  • BuilderAlerts- this is the preferred method because it is quickest and most reliable source of information, it will contact you via email, text message and voicemail. Anybody can sign up for BuilderAlerts at
  • Jinxtale- the communications department will send the emergency information to anyone with a email account.
  • Social Media- emergency information will be circulated via Facebook and Twitter.
  • School Website- The school website will also post it on their homepage.

Several administrators across campus have access to send out emergency information over BuilderAlerts. The emergency communication system is also tested once every year in the fall.

Sara Weinert, vice president for communications, urged students to sign up for BuilderAlerts because it is the most efficient form of communicating important information. The alerts will also include instructions for individuals to follow, whether it be in response to an active shooter, tornado etc.

“There is no reason for every student on campus not to be on the emergency alert system,” said Weinert. “We will do whatever we can to disseminate emergency information, but BuilderAlerts is the most reliable.”

The communication side is only one part of the emergency response on campus. Security does their part on the response team by working with the local police department and state troopers in order to get law enforcement on campus as soon as possible.

If you are not sure whether you are subscribed to the BuilderAlerts, go to this link and verify you will be in the know in case of an emergency.

Taylor Forrest is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email her at