The Town of South Hadley has purchased into one of these “community notification” systems, similiar to those most colleges are buying into. The system provides an central point for sending out text messages, phone calls, and emails to a large number of people in a very short period of time. I think this makes a lot of sense. The town should be able to call my house, as well as everyone else in the town, in the event of an emergency, like a forest-fire, and inform us that we need to evacuate. Sure, we can opt-out and all that jazz which is fine.
My problem is in the usage of the system. The town has been going “notification crazy” over the past few days. I’ve been in town less than a week and my household has already received 3 community notifications. Let me try and detail the specifics of each one for you:
- Wednesday, Dec 17 11:57 am – The recycling center will be closed on Christmas and New Years. Do not bring your recyclable items on these days.
- Friday, Dec 19 7:57am – A parking ban is in effect, do not park on certain sides of the street.
- Friday, Dec 19 8:12am – A parking ban is in effect, there is a town parking lot available across from the Egg & I.
Please note that these are just my summaries of the calls, I didn’t actually recieve the two on Friday, but I believe I got a pretty accurate description from my mom.
Looking at these calls, none of them were urgent by any means. Personally, I don’t care about a parking ban, a parking lot, or the recycling center. I mean sure, I would hate to drive all the way to the dump to find out it is closed on Christmas, but who really expected it to be open in the first place. What’s next, calling everyone to tell them that Town Hall will be closed on Christmas? Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this, but I think the town really likes to use their community notification system… a system that I think should be renamed to emergency notification system. Unless there are different levels of communication, and my parents have opted into the “tell us everything that is ever happening” level of communication, this service is being poorly used. I’m all for getting you monies worth, but the police don’t go around shooting at speeders because they have a stockroom full of bullets! I would heavily suggest to the town, whoever is in charge of this, to stop crying wolf at me when there is snow in the forecast or holiday closings. Please do call me when my house is going to burn down, the river is flooding, or a small army is taking over the town and we need to retreat into the woods.
In other news, RPI has started to “prune the tree” aka lay people off to save money in an effort to sustain their “core programs.” Personally, I am pretty confused about what the “core programs” are at RPI. I can tell you they are not educating undergrads, nor supporting student driven projects, or student organizations. I don’t think recruiting world-class faculty is a core program either, as most of my professors might be world-class if the world was still in the 70’s. I do like how they waited for all the students to leave for break. It would have been terribly awkward to be fired while meeting with a student or something like that. I guess they also avoided students speaking out against these firings, which would have likely happened to a larger extent if we were on campus.
I’m off to the mall, gotta get something for my brother’s birthday I guess.