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Poor email filter causes digital clutter, frustration

Courtesy of Rollins Flickr

Do you dread looking at your Rollins email account? Your answer is most likely “yes,” because the sheer amount of emails can be consistently overwhelming. 

With multiple emails being sent out every day, including reminders for clubs, events, registration, and housing, students cannot help but feel stressed about their growing list of emails to address. It can also be difficult to differentiate between emails that take priority and those that are simply spam. 

Professors are frustrated with their email accounts as well; they receive dozens of student emails a day, all of which require action and are hidden by mass, unrelated emails. 

The current Rollins student email works on two levels: one, it serves as an announcement board for on-campus organizations, and two, it acts as a system for students to communicate with one another, professors, and administrators. 

The latter function should be prioritized over the former. Students should feel comfortable accessing their email to reach out to others on campus, and while doing so, they should experience minimal frustration and confusion. 

But here is the truth: most students avoid their Rollins email because they know most of the mail in their inbox does not even apply to them. Consequently, important information gets lost in the “unread” bin, never touched or merely glanced at. 

The “other” and “focused” tabs in Outlook help distinguish between time-sensitive, relevant emails and promotional emails, but many messages fall between the cracks and are sorted incorrectly. Other emails are sent multiple times and are thus regarded as spam. 

The solution? Rollins needs a more advanced filtering system for the sender. 

A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between two girls who were frustrated about receiving fraternity recruitment emails. 

“I mean, I don’t understand,” one girl said. “Isn’t there a way for Rollins to know which people should get these emails and which shouldn’t?”

The answer is yes. After all, email lists exist within departments, so why can’t they exist school-wide? Email is meant to be a relevant mode of communication that spreads information quickly and efficiently. In the college setting, it is meant to facilitate student relations between faculty and staff—but this is not how the current Rollins email is working. 

The school’s system should be able to send emails based on demographics and student status. For instance, freshmen should never receive emails that are specific to seniors, and vice versa. Students should be given the opportunity to navigate through emails that pertain to them, thereby minimizing the amount of clutter that occurs. 

It may be smart of Rollins to utilize SGA’s upcoming Student Life app as a platform to post urgent, school-wide messages; this way, students can receive school notifications on their phones, and their school emails will be reserved for personal communications. 

In the meantime, do some digital spring cleaning over the summer. I, for one, have friends who have thousands of unread emails in their folders, one of whom has more than 6,000. It might be worth it to delete or sift through them when you have time. 

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