Get Plugged in for Commencement

Graduating senior Brian Kelleher '17 (SFA), right, checks his phone for text messages. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Graduating senior Brian Kelleher '17 (SFA), right, checks his phone for text messages. A new texting tool gives UConn a new way to reach soon-to-be graduates and their families coming to campus for graduation. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Before the University of Connecticut awards degrees to its largest-ever class, there’s one last item on the checklist for soon-to-be graduates and their families – and that’s to text “UConngrad” to the number 888777.

By doing so, people coming to the University for commencement weekend will opt in to receive urgent communications about the event, should the need arise to communicate directly with that audience.

The text is not case sensitive, so either “UCONNGRAD” or “uconngrad” will work just as well.

“This is not something we’re going to use to spam people with a hundred messages,” says Capt. Christopher Renshaw from UConn’s Office of Emergency Management. “But if there’s an urgent situation, this enables us to communicate directly with the people we need to reach.”

The new texting tool is intended to augment the University’s existing channels for communicating with students, faculty, staff, and visitors, which range from social media to campus-wide emails, but with the feature of allowing people to opt-in to receive messages, and then – once the weekend is over – to opt out, by texting “STOP” to the same number. Based on service providers and plans, data and messaging rates may apply to the texts, so bear that in mind when signing up.

Since this is the first time UConn has used the tool, Renshaw says, it’s likely there will be at least one message sent each day of commencement weekend, as a kind of field test of the new method.

“It will probably be something fun, like reminding people to get their pictures taken in front of the statue of Jonathan,” Renshaw says. “Commencement is a great occasion, and we’re looking forward to welcoming so many people to experience it with the whole UConn community.”