One of the newer chits college and university alumni associations offer to former students is “email for life” even if the former students attended the school in the Dark Age Before There Was Email.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln — clearly because of their new email deal with the Microsoft devil — now finally offers a university email address that is both worthwhile and valuable.

Here’s the UNL pitch for a lifetime Huskers.UNL.edu email address:

UNL has partnered with Microsoft to launch e-mail and other digital communication services on a new e-mail system: @huskers.unl.edu. Your e-mail address @huskers.unl.edu can graduate with you and be your lifelong e-mail address if you wish. This new system from Microsoft ExchangeLabs will also offer enhanced digital communication and collaboration tools.

All student e-mail account creations are on the @huskers.unl.edu system.

Here’s why giving students and alumni a “Once and For All” email address is smart:  Because it creates indelible and identifiable tethers to a school forever.  Students should be allowed to take their email address with them after graduation because they’ve used that point of contact in for four years.  Email is a bond.  Changing email addresses is always a hassle.  Now UNL students can have a single university email address and never have to worry about losing connectoids with others in the foraging of their social networks as they mature into adulthood.

Giving alumni the same sort of email address as matriculated students is smart.  It isn’t our fault email wasn’t available when we were paying our way to an undergraduate degree!  Having a .edu email address can be valuable.  Dropbox will give you extra space and you can buy full digital access to NYTimes.com content for 50% off the full price.

It didn’t always used to be Huskers.UNL.edu as an alumni email address at Nebraska.  The old alumni email address was attached to the clunky — @HuskerAlum.com domain — ouch!, so ugly!

At NYU, alumni get an even uglier email address — firstinitial.lastname.randomnumber@alumni.nyu.edu — which looks something like d.boles.102@alumni.nyu.edu.  That sort of unruly and unwieldly alumni email address guarantees nobody will ever use it.

Unfortunately, Princeton also uses a similar alumni email address schema as NYU:  @alumni.princeton.edu.

Columbia University is only slightly better.  You can pick your own username for your alumni email address, but after the @, you’re on the “caa.columbia.edu” subdomain.  The “CAA” means “Columbia Alumni Association” — and while that email address is free for life, and on Google’s Gmail system, it’s still only three letters better than spelling out the gruesome”alumni.”

Why can’t students and alumni take their “@nyu.edu” and “@princeton.edu” and “@columbia.edu” email addresses with them forever?  Why draw such a bright line between matriculated students and alumni?  You want an email address to be easy to read and short to spell and muggling it up with an extended subdomain only serves to sever the intended attachment.

Huskers.UNL.edu uses Microsoft software and I can tell you it’s fast.  Email is more robust and better than my Microsoft LIVE.com email account — and I pay a lot of money a year for that no-advertising email experience.  You can also connect other Hotmail/Live/MSN accounts to your Huskers email address.  I like that a lot.  My LIVE.com email account was imported into my Huskers email address.  Now everything Microsoft is under a single user account:

POP3 service is available for Huskers.UNL.edu, so I can choose to read my mail online or in an different email system like Gmail.

Managing your Huskers email account options are deep and complete.

You also have access to Windows Live and documents and photos.

I understand some alumni might enjoy the clear “alumni” separation in their email address — and that’s fine, but that choice for that email address should be made by the alumnus and not the school because if a school is truly selling “you’re one of us for life” then there should be no wiggle room between the matriculated and the donating for those who want invisible and indivisible bonding.

I’m crazy about my new Huskers.UNL.edu email address and I hope its sweet success in the marketplace will inspire other universities to follow suit and give students and alumni a unified email identity that solidifies intention instead of dividing spirit.

6 Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.