Terms to Know

The following terms are used during emergency situations.  SDSU students, faculty and staff should become familiar with them in the event of an emergency notification. 

SDSU ALERT is the campus emergency text/SMS messaging system.  Hosted by Blackboard Connect, it allows campus officials to notify the community of emergency situations on campus, provide instructions on what to do, and supply updates as available.  Faculty, staff, parents and community members can register here or www.sdsu.edu/sdsualert.  Students need only to update their contact information in their Web Portal account.

SHELTER IN PLACE means we need people to find somewhere safe, away from an incident area, and lock their doors and windows.  It is a term commonly used during emergency situations such as active shooter incidents although it was originally intended for use during environmental hazards such as severe weather or chemical, radiological or gas releases.

Because of the confusion sometimes associated with its use, SDSU will generally avoid using Shelter in Place and will instead provide "plain English" instructions on what to do.

LOCKDOWN means a building or buildings are locked and no one is permitted to leave or enter.  Because of the open nature of the SDSU campus, lockdown orders will generally be issued to specific buildings or departments based on the incident.

Any lockdown order will be followed by "plain English" instructions or information about what to do.

SAFETY COORDINATORS are trained in emergency response and play a vital role in the campus safety structure and in building evacuations.  A Safety Coordinator is appointed by each campus department and may assign one or more floor monitors for each floor their department occupies.

In an emergency situation on campus, the Safety Coordinators in your area assist in evacuating the building, guiding building occupants to emergency assembly points, and accounting for all building employees.

CAMPUS EVACUATION orders may be given when it becomes necessary to remove the majority of people from the campus.  This could be done in response to an emergency such as an active shooter or terror event, or in anticipation of a major weather event or natural disaster.  Typically the campus will remain open for university business, but classes may be canceled.

CAMPUS CLOSURE means that the campus is closed, classes are canceled and no or limited university business is being conducted.  This would likely only occur in a major emergency such as an earthquake, when it has been determined that the campus is not safe to occupy.

EVACUATION ASSEMBLY POINTS are locations on the main campus and the Imperial Valley Campus that have been designated as safe areas where building occupants are to assemble during a drill or actual emergency and following the evacuation of their building.  Each of the more than 250 buildings on campus has a designated assembly point.

Main campus assembly points list and map.

Imperial Valley Campus assembly points list and map.


ESSENTIAL SERVICES means that during an emergency, services deemed "essential" to the campus response and recovery effort will be identified and communicated with through division vice presidents and auxiliary organization executive directors.  Depending on the situation, some or all of the essential services below may be needed:

Associated Students - Building services

Aztec Shops - Food service

Contract and Procurement Management - Contracts and purchasing

Enrollment Services - Student communications & classrooms schedules

Enterprise Technology Services - IT security and system restoration

Environmental Health & Safety - First response

Facilities Services - First response and utilities restoration

Facilities Planning - Damage assessment

Financial Aid - Financial services

Marketing and Communications - Media and campus communications

Office of Housing Administration - Housing services

Residential Education - Housing services

Student Account Services - Financial services

Student Health Services - Student medical services

University Police - First response


DISASTER SERVICE WORKER is defined by Government Code sections 3100-3109 as all public employees employed by any county, city, state agency or public district.  Any such employee may be called upon to perform duties as a disaster service worker in the event of a major disaster on campus.  They may be called upon to assist in the protection of life or property or to help mitigate the effects of an emergency.

Employees serving within the scope of their duties as disaster service workers cannot be held liable for their actions during a disaster, and are covered by worker compensation if injured during service.