The Torch

Switch to desktop


School emails: more than meets the eye

Does the name “UMDNOTIFY” or “UMDANNOUNCE” sound familiar?

These infamous email addresses send out countless dull messages every week, filling students and faculty’s inboxes with clutter –they usually find their way into the “Trash” folder, and for good reason.

Why isn’t anybody reading these newsletters? They provide information about seminars, ceremonies, open houses, and other presentations going on around campus, but are known for not being read or even opened at all. Even if you were interested in one of the topics in the email, the way they are written makes even big news sound unexciting.

With a subject like, “STUDENT Digest V7 #260,” it just doesn’t grab its potential readers the way it should – nobody wants to open it to begin with. A student’s reaction to the email popping up in their inbox usually goes like this; “Student Digest? When did I sign up for one of those? What’s in it? Who cares?”

Quite frankly, the contents of the email could be “FREE LIFETIME SUPPLY OF ICE CREAM” or “FREE TUITION FOREVER” and still nobody would take the plunge and open the email to find out. The subject line is uninteresting. As a recipient of these emails most days of the week, I am one of the few who actually scans its contents – and here’s what I found.

Upon entering the email, you see a brief table of contents of the events that will be written about. For example, “CHINESE LIFELINES: Trails of a Falling Leaf” is one such event. It turns out that it’s a speech by Dr. Chang Ning Wu. It isn’t mentioned in the email, but Dr. Wu is a retired UMassD chemistry professor who is visiting to speak about his experience growing up in China and becoming a foreign student in America.

In the email itself, however, readers are not being drawn in. These emails are tediously informing students of seminars that we don’t even have enough information about. I might actually be interested to hear what Dr. Wu will lecture about, but UMDANNOUNCE sure isn’t helping my decision to attend his speech.

Perhaps most importantly, email is not the best medium for these types of announcements. If UMass wants students to attend these events, they should be posting them around like CAB or SAIL does, not shipping off rudimentary information four times a week through email. There are a number of alternative methods for promoting events, and email is the worst choice. Each email from UMDNOTIFY becomes spam mail, or unwanted mail that keeps coming day after day.

If they prefer to use email as their primary method, they definitely need to come up with jazzier subject lines and more interesting topics – at least providing more than the minimum information. Getting the word out can be done in a more attractive and appealing way, that’s for sure.

Until a major change is made, students will continue to open the emails, look at the titles of the events and think, “Hmm…do I care about this? Nope,” and send the email into the trash bin. It’s unfortunate but it does seem to be the case. Something needs to be done about it.

External links are provided for reference purposes. The Torch is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Top Desktop version