Probably with the Virginia Tech Tragedy in mind (though not specifically stated), Boston University recently began requiring its students to hand over their cell phone numbers for the university’s new Send Word Now system (or SWN, if you text with a lot of acronyms).

Send Word Now is an emergency notification system that will help ensure rapid and reliable mass communication to students, faculty, and staff. The Send Word Now system is designed to communicate with cell phones (text and voice messages), landlines, e-mail systems, and pagers during a crisis or time-sensitive situation on the Boston University Charles River and Medical campuses. In certain cases, Send Word Now has the capability of allowing recipients to provide responses to messages received.

Great step, Boston University. Here’s hoping other colleges and universities follow your lead.