CSUN students will be switching over to Gmail during the 2009 fall semester.
“The transition is near completion,” said Chris Xanthos, senior director for Project Management and Application Services. “We are finalizing the details. Our target is to switch over mid fall semester.”
Xanthos planned to transition to the new e-mail system by the end of the 2009 spring semester but pushed the date back to make sure the transition ran smoothly, he said. CSUN will be following in the footsteps of other universities including sister CSU’s that have already made the change, he added.
“We have heard nothing but good things (about other universities’ transition),” Xanthos said.
Many of the other universities already had students and faculty on different e-mail systems. For CSUN, the transition will be unique since students will be given new e-mail addresses while staff and faculty will remain under Microsoft Exchange system, Xanthos said. This means that their e-mails will continue on the @csun.edu domain.
The domain for student e-mail accounts will change from @csun.edu to @my.csun.edu and the e-mail address will include their first and last name, he said.
Although many students already have Gmail accounts, this will not affect them because “they will still be provided with a university account with a 6.5 gigabit storage quota,” said Xanthos. Students will then have to decide whether to use the account or forward it to their preferred e-mail address.
During the first months of the transition, Xanthos said a web-based utility will be “in place to automatically forward e-mails sent to the old e-mail system and it will also reply to the sender letting them know of the change of address.”
The University Help Desk will also be available to provide help in the month of October to any student that encounters troubleshooting problems or needs help moving saved correspondence to their new e-mail, he added.
Even though the shift has been underway for some time, many students are still unaware of the change. Xanthos said he is “working to get the word out by using different outlets to make students aware of the change that is approaching.”
Sociology grad student Katherine Sohn was surprised to hear about the transition.
“I didn’t know CSUN was switching to Gmail,” she said. “I guess it’s good because there are more students on Gmail already than on their CSUN accounts.”
Sohn forwards her CSUN e-mail to her existing Gmail account because “Gmail is way better.” She particularly likes the convenience of the labels and threading which allow her to find her e-mails faster.
Xanthos said the switch will make e-mail “more convenient for students since many of them are already familiar with Gmail.” The system will include new applications as well as familiar ones such as Google’s Documents and Calendar.
But that is not the only advantage the switch will provide. The e-mails have a faster-turnaround time, said Xanthos. In case of an emergency, the Campus Mass Communications System will be better at delivering notifications to students via their new e-mails, he said.
Kit Espinosa, emergency management and preparedness coordinator for the CSUN Department of Police Services, said the switch will not affect the system since they update their databases daily. “So it will absolutely work with the Gmail,” she said.