Colleges Offer Alumni Lifetime E-Mail Addresses
College graduates are getting more than just diplomas from their schools. Hundreds of schools now offer lifetime
e-mail addresses for their alums.
If you have graduated from Swarthmore College, you can get an “alum.swarthmore.edu” address. The University of Pennsylvania offers “alumni.upenn.edu,” while California’s Harvey Mudd College gives out “alumni.hmc.edu” addresses to its graduates. For many graduates, such e-mail addresses carry prestige.
“If you have an ‘alum.mit.edu’ address, people know right away you’re an MIT grad,” says Maggy Bruzelius, MIT’s director of alumni network services. “That should be a pretty powerful tool.”
Schools usually don’t provide mail services directly. Alums can use their alumni addresses through mail accounts with Internet service providers because messages sent to the alumni address are simply forwarded. Users of an alumni e-mail address can visit a Web site to have messages redirected from one Internet service provider mail account to another mail account.
That portability is useful these days, when people can lose their e-mail overnight if they are laid off from a company that provided them e-mail or their Internet provider goes out of business. It is also handy for households that get high-speed service, dropping telephone dial-up providers. Pamela Oberg, a 1993 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, says she has changed e-mail services four times but only had to inform classmates, friends and family once.
Schools are using the addresses to send newsletters, invitations to events, perhaps even pitches for financial gifts. “Alums who stay connected and stay involved ultimately are inclined to support Bucknell financially,” says Kristin Woods, associate director of Bucknell University’s Office of Alumni, Parents and Volunteers.
Some schools offer promotional services with their e-mail addresses, especially if the school handles e-mail service instead of just forwarding mail from their servers. The UCLA Alumni Association gives out addresses with “UCLAlumni.net,” while Stanford University uses “stanfordalumni.org.”
In Stanford’s case, alums get full e-mail services, not just forwarding. Unlike other promotional services, such as credit cards, schools get no income from e-mail forwarding, which can cost thousands of dollars to run. But linked with bulletin boards, job postings and other offerings, schools consider e-mail services a good way to encourage alums to stay in touch and volunteer to interview applicants, or help seniors with career counseling.
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