By Molly Meisels, Editor in Chief
On December 10th, Linda Stone, Director of Student Events for the Office of Student Life, sent an email to the undergraduate student body. The subject line stated, “New Administrative Email address – replacing Studs.” Instead of using the usual ystud and sstud medium, Stone’s email was sent through accounts labeled email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Stone has been working with other members of the Office of Student Life to phase out the familiar ystud and sstud system, by working to revamp it, and then replace it. “Feedback from multiple student discussions have pointed to what, for many, is the ineffectiveness of those systems, which frequently inundate undergraduate students email boxes with messages; resulting in them not being read,” Stone’s email read.
The first step of these changes has already been enacted. The adminberen and adminwilf email addresses will be used by YU offices like the Registrar and Academic Advising, “to enable students to quickly recognize that a particular email is from a YU office, and could be related to registration, YU policies and other important notices[…].” Due to the dozens of emails students receive per day, these new listservs are designed to be easily recognizable and set apart from club or community-oriented content. A few such emails have already been sent out using this new system.
Students and administrative figures alike have varied sentiments about the ystud and sstud mailing system. This system acts as the primary advertising mechanism for the 126 clubs on the Beren and Wilf campuses, not including The Commentator or YU Observer. “One of the goals of our team is to provide the student community with information about the hundreds of different events that take place on and off campus each year,” Stone told the YU Observer.
All undergraduate student clubs are required to host at least two events per semester to be considered an official student group, and if they fail to do so, they are at risk of losing club status. Therefore, many events are hosted per semester, and if each club hosts only two events, that results in 252 student-run events being advertised. Some clubs do not reach the two-event quota and others hold more than two events, but these events are usually publicized via ystud and sstud, tending to result in dozens of emails being sent to student inboxes every day. Due to this quantity of emails in student inboxes, event leaders use misleading subject lines, promises of food, and daily email blasts to ensure that their events get noticed.
Most students on campus are impacted by the ystud/sstud system in some way, as senders, receivers, and many times, both. “Even though s/ystuds can get annoying, they are a really important way to communicate with the student body and keep people updated on what’s happening on campus,” said Elka Wiesenberg, Stern College for Women Student Council’s Vice President of Clubs. Sarah Ben-Nun, SCW ’20, the co-president of the YU Poetry Club, is waiting to see if the new university-wide emailing system will succeed. She told the YU Observer, “I remember getting a tip my first semester on campus from a friend to just delete them [the emails] when I told her I was overwhelmed by the daily bombardment of upward of 50 emails a day. Having been one of those students to send studs myself, I understand the urgency in event publicity […] I hope the new system finds a balanced way to curb the email traffic without losing that connection between event organizers and the student body.”
Sara Schatz, SCW ‘20, co-president of the Genocide Awareness Club, the Israel Club, and the Blood Drive Committee, expressed a similar sentiment. She is supportive of the new changes because she recognizes that students are not looking at their emails anymore, as there are too many, but she remains a bit skeptical. “Something that would make things easier is having some sort of organized way to show it. The email list should not be a large PR culture where nobody checks anything and nobody is going to go to things based off it…I’ve found that it’s a fast way to spread information, but it’s not the ultimate way to get people to come to [events]…I’m supportive of the change, [but] I don’t know what the change is going to be,” Schatz said.
Stone informed the YU Observer that this change in the system is only the beginning. “While future replacement with new communication technology is being discussed by the university, we are working on new guidelines for the studs,” she said. “The changes, still being finalized, will result in fewer, more targeted messages being sent – eliminating duplicates studs and those with ambiguous subject lines. The hope is that this will benefit the clubs promoting events and the students who may now learn about them more effectively. We also always encourage students to rely on the YU Events site for complete and accurate information about campus activities.”
Photo: Stone’s December 10th email to the undergraduate student body, informing them of the upcoming changes.