Beginning in the Fall of 2013, the Mills email service will move to Gmail. The college hopes to save between $100,000 and $250,000 each year because of this system change, Renée Jadushlever, Vice President for Operations, said at the community meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
The shift is one example of the college’s attempt to both save money and become better connected with the student community at Mills through more advanced technology.
“We’re not going to be bleeding edge, but we want to be cutting edge,” Jadushlever said. “We want to make things as electronic as possible for you.”
The current email service, Microsoft Outlook Exchange, is costing the college money and time.
“It is a very labor intensive enterprise,” Jadushlever said. “It does take an extensive amount of money and a lot of staff time.”
Part of what makes Outlook Exchange expensive to operate is that it is managed by a team of Mills employees and functions through a physical server on campus. By moving both the college’s email service and the files on its server to the “cloud,” a term for external storage accessible through the internet, users will be able to share files more easily.
“Currently with our file server, we don’t really have an efficient way of sharing documents,” Jadushlever said. “With Gmail…you will be able to collaboratively share documents.”
Moving to Gmail will also increase every user’s quota for email storage from the current 1 gigabyte to 25.
“One of the things we get the most complaints about is that the email quota is not big enough,” Jadushlever said.
The shift will not change email names, all users will still have @mills.edu addresses and the Outlook client will also stay the same, Spark Carranza, Coordinator of Technology Training, said. This will allow any user to continue using Outlook’s calendar and contact features. All other information will be transfered over by Mills’ Information Technology services.
Besides updating its email system, the college administration also wants to improve its overall communication with the community.
The administration has observed that many students are not utilizing their Mills email as much as other technologies, like Facebook and text messaging, for accessing college information and communicating with other members of the Mills community. While moving to Gmail is the college’s first means of staying current, Jadushlever also wanted to know if there are better ways of communicating
“Students are not using emails,” Jadushlever said. “That is one of the questions I want to ask…what is the best means for communicating with students?”
For questions or concerns about the change to Gmail or technology services on campus, email firstname.lastname@example.org.