Arizona State University
More than 70,000 students attend classes at one of Arizona State University’s campuses in the Phoenix area, and it had no business continuity plans in place. Leaders at the university needed to get university-wide support for creating business continuity plans to build a resilient campus.
In 2015, ASU began the process of implementing Kuali Ready to ensure the university and all its campuses had plans in place to continue critical operations during and after an emergency or disaster.
In the four years since first adopting Kuali Ready, the program has helped campus leaders gain support for building a resilient campus community. It now has 109 plans that have been through two annual reviews.
“Slowly but surely they’re getting it,” said Melissa Krewson, Program Manager for Preparedness and Security Initiatives at ASU.
At ASU, Ready is a directive of the Chief Financial Officer that’s supported by the university president. Krewson developed a training session and approached the highest leaders in every department as well as their associates and staff. “We were pretty successful explaining what and why … we went into everything—expectations and what it meant.” From there, she offered support and required that plans be completed within 60 days.
“At first, it was really difficult to get people on board,” she said. “Over the past four years, we’ve made significant progress.”
Since getting all the plans completed, ASU has used them several times. Recently, a pipe broke on a Sunday and flooded 10 buildings on campus. Leaders pulled out their enterprise business continuity plan created in Ready and identified the critical business functions in those buildings, where the staff would go, what equipment to move. Using the plan, it took less than 10 minutes to gain the knowledge necessary to continue critical business operations.
“It was a good test,” she said.
Krewson said two departments recently told her they used their plans during incidents in their buildings. The university also encourages departments to use the plans during annual emergency exercises. Last year, the scenario was a large-scale protest on the main campus that bled into other protests and vandalism, which disrupted classes. In that exercise, 40 percent of the departments used their business continuity plans to continue critical operations during and after the incident.
“We’ve learned a ton of lessons having the program in place,” Krewson said.
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