Effective immediately, current CU Boulder students can elect to receive certain emergency and campus closure messages in Arabic, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), German and Korean, among other languages, making it easier for native speakers and readers of these languages to process crucial information quickly, without having to translate it.
Other languages are being reviewed for compatibility with the university’s emergency notification system, RAVE Mobile Safety, and will be considered for addition in the future. Employees have had the option to choose alerts in select languages since late fall semester.
For more information on receiving certain alerts in languages other than English, visit the Preferred Language Instructions for Students or the Preferred Language Instructions for Employees on the CU Boulder Alerts website.
The translation project was being researched by CU Boulder’s Emergency Management division in late 2021 when Assistant Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Patricia Gonzalez met with colleagues in Arts and Sciences who noticed alerts were being sent exclusively in English. “That’s when the idea to partner with CUPD came up, and we reached out to Chief Jokerst to see if she would be interested in meeting with the group.”
Gonzalez was pleased that CUPD was an immediate, willing partner in researching language compatibility, developing translation tools and enacting change. She’s heard positive comments from employees who have taken advantage of selecting alerts in preferred languages. “We feel seen, cared for and acknowledged,” she said.
Gonzalez is excited the option is now available for students, as well as faculty and staff. “We want to make sure everyone feels safe and included on campus and what better way to demonstrate both than by adapting a system that will positively impact the university and better reflect and serve our community at large.”
The ability to select a preferred language will only apply to the highest level of notification, CU Emergency Alerts, sent via text and email, and will not apply to CU Safety Alerts or CU Advisories. As a reminder, there are three notification levels at CU Boulder.
The translation feature will not apply to other official communications from the university, such as academic correspondence and announcements.
Students may opt to receive select emergency messages in languages other than English as a part of preregistration each semester. Students who wish to update emergency alert language preferences at other times of the year should contact the Office of the Registrar at email@example.com.