By Janelle Harb
Last semester, on March 22, the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) passed the Email Reduction Act, brought to them by senators and ITS liaisons then-junior Joe Lesh and then-senior Sean Wagner. This act was created in order to reduce the number emails sent out to undergraduates, which some consider overwhelming, and instead replace them with a single e-mail consisting of a blog to which club leaders can submit a post.
“Whenever we do something in Senate, we always want to hear the voice of the students before we make any big changes,” Lesh explained. “We sent out an email to all the club leaders […] [then] Sean and I went to the COR (Council of Representatives) meeting and told them what we were doing, and they took a vote, and there wasn’t a single hand up that wasn’t very much in favor of the idea. We composed the document, talked to our advisors and e-board, and brought it to the floor of student government and it was passed overwhelmingly.”
Although the act was passed last semester, students may have noticed that the number of emails this semester has remained the same as in previous years. This stasis is because the blog has not yet been established, despite being nearly four weeks into the current semester. “It was the summer and there was just a drop [in the project],” Lesh said in regards to this halt. “Sean graduated, I was extremely busy… So some of the last final details didn’t get done, and when we got back to campus, we realized we still needed to put the pieces together […] I immediately met with Beth [Crvelin] (Assistant Director of Student Life) and Neil Savoy, our graduate advisor, and we coordinated meetings with ITS people.”
With this new system, club leaders will be able to access a blog in order to submit their “blurbs,” which essentially explain what they normally would in a regular email. Then, the singular blog-document is automatically created, formatted, and sent out to undergraduates. Lesh also mentioned that they hope to eventually incorporate other section submissions like “today,” “later this week,” and “upcoming events.”
“It would be organized, very clean-cut. It would look very sharp, and be very easy for students to obtain the information that they want to see,” assured Lesh. “Rather than opening your email at 5PM and realizing you’ve got 15 emails from clubs you’re not even a part of.”
Lesh was optimistic about the email resolution and described it as a “win-win.”
“Students win because there’s less e-mail clutter,” said Lesh. “Also for club leaders, this is a more efficient way to get your message across because if someone gets 15 emails, then they’re less likely to read all 15 emails. If someone gets one email that’s very pretty and clean-cut, then they’re more likely to read your message.”
As long as everything goes according to plan, the blog could be up and running in as few as two weeks and, statistically speaking, decrease the number of emails received by students by 50 percent. It is noteworthy that in the 185 days since the resolution has passed, change is still at least two weeks away, but this seems to be a larger component of progress at Canisius. Although emails from the Griff Center and administration will not be restricted from this rule, there will still be a significant improvement in the way information will be shared on campus. It was due to students voicing their concerns that this resolution came about. Our student Senate is willing to initiate change on this campus if students are willing to put the time and effort in order to advocate change, as exhibited by this initiative.