Wildcat Mail goes Google

Google will be taking charge of hosting as the IT Division replaces Weber State University’s aging e-mail system. Resulting from student complaints and glitches in the system, the WSU IT Division will unveil a new Wildcat Mail system hosted by Google. It is expected to provide students with new tools to use in their classes, and solve many of the glitches that have been occurring with the e-mail system in recent years. While there appears to be few downsides, the IT Division representatives said they wanted to emphasize the process of importing old mail into the new system.

Recently, the old Wildcat Mail system has been getting on the nerves of numerous students. This inspired the change from the IT Division, which had been receiving a high number of calls and messages in regards to glitches in the e-mail system.

“I’ve had a lot of problems with the e-mail,” said WSU senior Amanda Gutierrez. “A lot of days you just can’t get into it — you click on it and nothing happens — and a lot of times when I send e-mails from there, my professors don’t get them. That’s my biggest problem with it.”

Resulting from these complaints, the WSU IT Division reached out to students during this last October and asked for input on what kind of solution should be applied to the e-mail problem. Based upon what students wanted, the IT Division decided that the best solution would be replacing the current system with a new system hosted by an outside entity — in this case, Google. The transition from the old mailing system to the new one will occur on June 26.

The project coordinator for the transition to the new mail system, Nicole Defriez, explained what exactly is new about the system.

“It’s a lot easier for students to collaborate,” she said. “Students can branch out and use Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google sites, and share them with students in their class just by knowing their name.”

One improvement is in regards to how much storage space students will have. The new system will have 7 GB of space, which is equivalent to two movies and much bigger than what the old system had. Other changes include the ability for students to access their mail via a Google application on their phones. In terms of limitations to the new system, it is only offered to students at the moment. Also, Defriez listed several things that the new system will not have that the old system did.

“Frequent downtime,” Defriez said with a laugh, “a cost to the university. Once we get this transition made and people get used to the new system, there’s hardly any downside to the university.”

One thing that Defriez and the other members of the project emphasized is the process for importing mail from the old e-mail system to the new one. One complication of the switch is that mail delivered to the old system before the switch will not be automatically transferred to the new system. To make the transition process smoother, the IT Division has taken steps to help students import their mail.

“We really want students to be aware of the steps for importing their old mail,” Defriez said.

In order to import mail from the old system into the new accounts, students are instructed to visit www.weber.edu/wildcatmail and click on the link that will provide instructions on how to import old mail.

As of right now, many students seem to be enthusiastic about the new change. Many felt that a Gmail-like system would be easier to use than the current Wildcat Mail. WSU junior Thomas Thorpe said he would prefer the new system when e-mailing professors.

“Definitely!” Thorpe said. “It’s just easier — it’s just a lot more user-friendly, you know. Google’s pretty good and making things user-friendly.”