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New blog allows for fewer emails in inbox

 

Castleton University students may have noticed fewer mass emails this semester thanks to a new blog called “Sparty Says.” It’s a one-stop shop for all campus and club news, its creators said.

Associate Dean of Student Success Kelley Beckwith says the new tool is a direct result of student feedback related to the number of “all-student” emails.

“A colleague said she had a student liken the emails to a firehose that we have to duck while it sprays us. We can’t soak it in, it just knocks us down,” Beckwith said. 

The main goal of the blog is to improve communication. It will also allow students to choose announcements relevant to them and it provides specific categories as well as a search bar for entering keywords to direct students to the most relevant posts or organize by date. 

Students can search everything from how to add or drop a class to how to find ways to become engaged on campus, Beckwith said

“Sparty Says” not only aims to decrease the number of emails students receive, but also serves as a “more graphically pleasing” tool that is searchable, she said. Prior to publishing each week, Beckwith also tries the site on a mobile device to ensure it can be accessed in all formats.

Weekly emails from Sparty will be sent out on Wednesdays. Students are then given the option to select individual links to the headlines that are pertinent to them.

Students are encouraged to use “Sparty Says” as a way to share information with other students or faculty and staff. 

Beckwith encourages student reactions on what is working and what is not so far.

“I would love feedback. We’re working on getting metrics to measure which articles are receiving the most clicks, but we don’t have it yet,” she said.

Castleton student Elizabeth Lalumiere offered her initial reactions to the new tool.

“Although getting a million different emails can be annoying, having each email be sent separately with a different reminder can be useful,” Lalumiere said.

Intern Summer Lampron is a senior in the psychology program with a business administration minor and hopes to go on to a career in management consulting or in a position at a college handling academic advising. She facilitates a lot of the blog functions behind the scenes including photos, formatting, and design of “Sparty Says.”

She adds a needed student point of view in the creation of the new communication tool and listed a couple reasons for the creation of the blog. 

“What we have learned through interviews with first-year students and around campus in general is that many students are overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive on a day-to-day base. Our hope is that this will help improve communication on campus by creating a solid base or format that students can go to and receive information that otherwise would have got lost in their email,” Lampron said.

Lampron also furthers Beckwith’s point about improving communication, saying that the blog sorts through emails and puts them into a less overwhelming format to help students not miss out on important information or opportunities they are interested in.

“Our overarching goal is to support student success on campus,” Beckwith concluded.

To submit information, email Sparty.says@castleton.edu before the 12 p.m. Tuesday deadline.