New event e-mail system implemented

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By Benjamin Engle

The Union College Office of Communications and ITS implemented new guidelines regarding the sending of campus-wide emails, effective Tuesday, April 10. The changes to the campus-wide e-mail system were designed to reduce inbox clutter, ensure that the Campus Calendar is complete and accurate, and to give members of the campus community some flexibility in how they receive event information.

Prior to April 10, members of the campus community received e-mails regarding events through mass e-mails sent out to the entire campus community or groups through distribution lists in Microsoft Outlook, known as broadcast e-mails.

The campus often received numerous e-mails from a select number of campus members because not everybody was authorized to send e-mails to the various lists.

According to Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at Union Jill Hungsberg,  the old broadcast e-mail system had numerous disadvantages.

“[The old system] generated a lot of individual e-mails; we have a lot going on at Union! This caused inbox clutter, complaints from the community, and a lot of automatic deleting of messages by people who were getting frustrated with the sheer volume of events,” stated Hungsberg.

Hungsberg explained that because there were so many event advertisements sent through e-mail, community members had little incentive to submit them to the Union College Online Campus Calendar.

“Those who rely on the calendar to get a sense of what’s going on at Union, which includes external audiences like prospective students, weren’t seeing the full picture,” explained Hungsberg. “They’d only see a small slice of everything that was happening, which restricted our ability to show what a dynamic campus Union is.”

Despite the problems with the old broadcast system, the Office of Communications did not want to prohibit event publicity through e-mail. Currently, members of the Union community can receive event information via the Online Campus Calendar, two event summary e-mails a week, and through a new [email protected] listserv.

The listserv was implemented to give everyone at Union an opportunity to send event information to subscribers. At the time of implementation, everybody at Union was automatically subscribed to it, though community members can unsubscribe from it at anytime by sending a message to [email protected] from your Union e-mail account.

“Some people prefer [the e-mail] method, and some event organizers believe it helps build awareness for their events.  But we also didn’t want to force people to get hundreds of individual e-mails about events every term if they didn’t want to,” Hungsberg said. “We wanted to give them an option to receive just two summary e-mails a week if they preferred—that’s how we ended up with the hybrid solution of twice-weekly calendar summaries and a listserv just for event e-mails.­”

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