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Hazards_Summit2008: Setting the Stage

“If we shake hands before a disaster we won’t have to point fingers afterwards.”

-          International Association of Emergency Managers, September 2007

With an image of an earthquake’s path on the screen, EDUCAUSE President Diana Oblinger set the stage for the 2008 EDUCAUSE Summit, “The Role of Information Technology in Campus Security and Emergency Management” by ticking off many of the hazards that colleges and universities have faced in recent years. Noting their unpredictability – and their apparent frequency – she suggested that the most powerful tool for moving forward may collaborations like those she hopes will take place in Washington this week.  

Collaboration was a prevalent theme during the Summit’s opening remarks, echoed by NACUBO project director and principal investigator Jim Hyatt, who introduced participants to a multi-association, five-phase project designed to address those threats faced by colleges and universities while helping campuses assess their own emergency preparedness.

“[This is about], what can we all do together?” Hyatt said.

Over the next two days, at least, participants will explore current approaches for the integration of IT and emergency management while helping to identify key practices and future needs. But the most important step, if today's remarks are any indication, may be the community constructed throughout the program.

Or, as facilitator Jenny Mehmedovic said, the "shaking" of hands.

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