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Pieces of Eight

ECU Pirate Lindsey Faithful from New Bern connects with the Velcro wall during Pirate Palooza, the annual welcome back “Plunge into purple” party held this year on Aug. 24. The traditional event welcomes thousands of returning ECU students with music, food and prizes, and novelty activities such as inflatables and body art. Students also enjoy storming the field through the tunnel used by the ECU Pirates football team on game day. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU Pirates Drop Anchor for Fall Semester

By Jeannine Manning Hutson

East Carolina University welcomed approximately 27,400 students to campus –– physically and virtually—when the fall semester began officially Aug. 24 with the annual faculty convocation. Classes began Aug. 25.

The total university enrollment is projected to be about 27,400, including approximately 4,175 first-year students. Also included in the enrollment projection are more than 6,100 distance education students and more than 6,000 graduate students. Official enrollment numbers will be available after the university’s census day, Sept. 8.

Approximately 5,000 students were expected to move into residence halls, bringing on-campus housing close to capacity.

During move-in weekend, Aug. 20-23, the university tested its new outdoor notification speakers on the east campus. The Emergency Notification Team tested the speakers three times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to determine audibility; there are eight locations throughout east campus with four speakers each.

Persons on campus were to hear a tone and then a verbal message, noting it was only a test of the ECU Alert emergency notification system.

“The purpose of the test was to allow our technicians to assess the intelligibility of the speakers’ voice message across campus and make adjustments from this assessment,” said Tom Pohlman with ECU’s Environmental Health and Safety office.

“The speaker test conducted over the move-in weekend went as we had hoped. For the most part, the alert tone could be heard throughout campus. As expected, we did find some areas where the volume needed to be adjusted to allow for better understanding of the verbal message,” he said.

Pohlman noted that the testing did help the team determine some weak areas. “We also identified a couple of areas where we need to install additional speakers to ensure full coverage of the campus,” he said.

“Speakers are intended to alert people outside,” he noted. “They are not designed to alert folks inside a building, although in some buildings people might be able to hear the message.”

Outdoor notification speakers have also been installed at the Health Sciences campus and the North Recreational Complex, but they were not tested at this time.  

This page originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2009 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at