Get The Message: Revamp RIT Email
by William Hirsh | published Sep. 24th, 2014
RIT students and faculty despise nothing more than a trove of Message Center emails in their inboxes. Innocuous at first, the over-cluttered inbox only hints at the issues the mailing list holds. RIT's de facto way to spread any information tangential to the university is troubled by a lack of both specific customization and transparency.
Message Center is meant to be RIT's way of engaging students and keeping them informed of things going on around campus, but it doesn't fit the interests or needs of its audience. There is a level of customization that users can adjust by logging into rit.edu, but there is a catch: there are only 18 categories of mail you can opt in and out of. To some that may seem like a lot, but by simply looking at your inbox, you can see that this does not stop you from getting emails you couldn't care less about. I've personally received several emails about "A potential business opportunity" that is neither relevant to my major nor of any interest to me. Although the categories range from "Important Institute Announcements" to "Student Government," they are overly broad and more often than do not give me the information I require. Sure, we can filter messages that we are tired of seeing, but this doesn't improve the likelihood we'll find something pertaining to us while reading our email.
Message Center's other problem is that its standards emails it sends out are not accessible online. A simple Google search of Message Center will supply you with only basic knowledge of the system and how it is used. This speaks ill of not just Message Center's accountability and transparency, but also that of the main pillars of RIT's administration. The most recent example of this was RIT's treatment of two student obituaries in the past month; the two incidents were given unequal coverage. While I applaud Sandra Johnson, the Vice President of Student Affairs, for openly discussing Student Affairs' process of sending remembrance emails in a Letter to the Editor, I still feel that many of RIT's other entities would benefit from being more open about their use of Message Center by building a stronger relationship with students.