Emergency Notification Systems
The Northwestern University Emergency Notification System disseminates timely information to the campus community in the event of a threat to safety affecting the University.
Types of Notifications
- For: An immediate or imminent life safety threat believed to be occurring on or near campus.
- What to do: Immediate action is required. Follow instructions in AlertNU communications.
- Example: Active aggressor reported on or near campus.
AlertNU messages may be sent via email, text, or phone calls and posted on digital screens and the Northwestern homepage, denoted with the color red.
Example email message header:
To learn more about these messages, visit the Glossary of Emergency Terms.
- For: Incidents of crime considered to be serious or continuing threats to safety, as required by the Clery Act.
- What to do: Review the notice in its entirety, including any listed practices that will allow you to protect yourself and aid in the prevention of similar crimes.
- Examples: Robbery, aggravated assault, vehicle theft and hate crimes.
Crime Notice messages are sent via email and will be denoted with the color purple.
Example email message header:
For more information about Crime Notices and the Clery Act, visit the Campus Security page on the Risk Management website.
Frequently Asked Questions
What phone number and email address will AlertNU messages come from?
AlertNU messages come from the following numbers and addresses.
- Telephone: 847-491-1100
- Text (SMS): 67283, 226787, 78015, 81437, 77295
- Email display name: AlertNU
- Email address: AlertNU@northwestern.edu
To easily recognize calls and text messages as emergency alerts, we recommend adding these numbers to your phone contact list and naming the entries “AlertNU.”
What should I do when an AlertNU message is issued?
Review the message in its entirety. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Follow instructions in AlertNU communications to keep yourself and others safe in emergency situations. Familiarity with terminology used in AlertNU messages will help you respond appropriately.
After an AlertNU message is issued, where can I find more details about an emergency?
Updates will be shared as available on the Northwestern homepage. The homepage will direct users to the University emergency landing page for the most up-to-date information. You will also be updated via follow-up AlertNU messages. Please note, in some circumstances, the next AlertNU message may not contain new information. The University strives to maintain no more than 15 minutes between follow-up AlertNU messages, but some circumstances may result in more rapid or spaced messaging.
Will an “all clear” message be sent when an emergency is resolved?
Yes. Additional messages with updated information, including an “all clear” update, will be sent from AlertNU when appropriate.
What email address will Crime Notice messages come from?
Crime Notice messages are sent from CrimeNotice@northwestern.edu.
What should I do when a Crime Notice message is issued?
Review the notice in its entirety. Crime Notices will typically include the date, time, location of occurrence, a description of the incident or incidents, and any other pertinent details available at the time of issuing the notice. They will also include additional information that could aid community members in altering their behavior to protect their personal safety and minimize additional incidents from occurring. Crime Notices will not include the names and other personal identifying information of crime victims/survivors.
Managing Your Information
Who is eligible to register for AlertNU notifications?
Students, faculty and staff automatically have their Northwestern email entered into the emergency notification system. To receive notifications via landline, cell phone and text message, you must enter contact information in the student records system, CAESAR, for students or the myHR system for faculty and staff.
See “How do I keep my information up-to-date and receive AlertNU notifications via text?” and “How do others outside of faculty, staff and students opt in to AlertNU?” for further guidance.
How do I keep my information up-to-date and receive AlertNU notifications via text?
If your contact information or phone number changes during the year, or if you wish to ensure you will receive emergency notifications via text, please use the following systems to update your contact information:
Who is eligible to register for Crime Notice messages?
Students, faculty and staff are automatically entered into the email notification system. To ensure that you will receive Crime Notices, students should update their contact information in the student records system, CAESAR; Faculty and staff should update their contact information in the myHR system.
Members of the larger community (including parents, visitors, contractors, vendors and external community members) are not eligible to enroll.
How can I verify my information is entered in the system so I will receive emergency notifications?
Review the Self-Validation of Emergency Notification Information guide to ensure that you will receive emergency notifications.
How do others outside of faculty, staff and students opt in to AlertNU?
Members of the larger community (including parents, visitors, contractors, vendors and external community members) can enroll in AlertNU for 365 days by texting “AlertNU” to 226787. You will receive a confirmation text indicating that you have successfully subscribed. To be removed from the system, simply text "stop" to the same number.
For those that will be on campus for a shorter duration of time, you may subscribe for 7 days by texting “AlertNU7” to 226787 or for 30 days by texting “AlertNU30” to the same number.
Text (SMS) subscriptions will expire as follows:
- AlertNU: 365 Days
- AlertNU7: 7 Days
- AlertNU30: 30 Days
Just prior to expiration, you will receive a notification on how to resubscribe.
I am enrolled in classes. When will I begin receiving emergency notifications?
Students will begin to receive emergency notifications after activating their Northwestern email account. Faculty and staff will begin receiving emergency notifications shortly after their appointment is made in myHR and a Northwestern email account is issued. See “How do I keep my information up-to-date and receive AlertNU notifications via text?” for guidance on options for additional methods to receive notifications.
When will I stop receiving emergency notifications?
Students will stop receiving emergency notifications 148 days post-graduation or withdrawal. Faculty and staff will stop receiving messages and alerts 14 days post separation.