Google Group Creation


Willamette University users can create their own mailgroups in Google Groups!

There are a few things you need to know about creating a mailgroup as several categories of Group require special settings only WITS can configure since they are unavailable via the Google Groups user interface.  There are also a few rules to follow when creating your mailgroups.  This page provides a brief overview of the kinds of groups and the naming structure for groups, then focuses on the groups users can create on their own.

Types of Groups

There are three main categories of Google Groups:

1) Owner Maintained Groups

2) Data Driven Groups

3) Course Groups

Owner Maintained Groups

These groups may be created by users using their Willamette Google interface.  The Groups app is one of many included with the Google Suite accessible by clicking the 9-square icon in the upper-right corner of your browser window when logged in to your email.  Here, you can manage, maintain, and create the groups for which you have ownership including any you may have migrated from our legacy Mailgroup system.

Data Driven Groups

Group membership for these special groups is dynamically controlled by data from one or more of our internal systems.  Due to the automated nature of membership, these groups are created by WITS at the request of users.

Course Groups

These groups are a special category of Data Driven groups generated automatically each semester with membership updated nightly based on student and instructor information pulled from registrar data.  Again, these are not user-generated.


In addition to these three categories, groups are assigned to specific Namespaces designated by a dash and a specific word after the group name.  You may already be familiar with some of these: -info and -faculty or -majors or even -bldg

All Owner Maintained groups created in Google Groups end in -group automatically.  If you create a group named "videogameclub" the official name, once created, will be videogameclub-group.  This is vital to maintain consistency between the many kinds of specialty groups and to differentiate group names from usernames.

If you need to request a special kind of group in a different Namespace, contact WITS and we'll get it set up for you.  Do note:  Some Namespaces are restricted to due to the nature of their membership and require approval prior to creation.

Creating Groups

Group creation in Google is quite simple but configuring your group is another story.  It may seem overwhelming at first as the Google Groups interface allows for significant customization including moderation, inclusion of members from outside the Willamette community, co-ownership, and granular definition of member roles.  We're going to cover the creation process, some of the basic settings, and address most frequently asked questions here.

Do note, the last step is the most important as it controls who may join your group!

Group Creation Process

  1. Sign in to your Willamette Gmail account
  2. Click the 9-square button in the upper-right corner adjacent to your username and the WU logo
  3. Click Groups
  4. Once in the Groups window, you have several options:
    1. Create Group: This red button allows you to begin the Group creation process
    2. My Groups: This link takes you to your groups membership page where you can manage groups you own, leave groups, and manage how emails sent to you via the group are handled in Gmail
    3. Browse All: This takes you to a list of all the groups currently in the Willamette University Google Groups collection.  There are thousands, so using the search bar at the top of this window is recommended!
  5. Click Create Group to begin making your new group
    1. Group Name: Give the group a name
    2. Email Address:  This line is automatically populated using the name you entered above translated into proper format which uses lowercase letters and hyphens, it also includes the -group at the end automatically. (Be sure not to end your group name in "Group" or the address will end in -group-group!)
    3. Group's Primary Language: Defaults to English but you can select a different language if desired
    4. Group Type: There are several different types of groups apart from Mailgroups.  Stick to the default "Email List" for a familiar mailgroup environment.  Explore other kinds of groups once you're more familiar with the Groups interface and management settings.
    5. Basic Permissions: These settings establish the basis for your group's accessibility and visibility. 
      1. Group Visibility:  The default setting allows others to see your group in the All Groups list mentioned above.  To hide your group from non-members, select All members of the group.
      2. View Topics: The default for this is pretty standard and keeps group topics internal to group members and owners.
      3. Post: Default setting allows anyone with a email address to send to the group.  If you want to receive email from outside the WU community, you can check "Anyone on the web".  Do note, selecting this option may result in an increase in spam and phishing attempts.
      4. Join the Group: You'll probably want to change this setting!  By default, your group will be joinable by ANYONE with a email address.  Select Only invited users to maintain control over group membership.  Or you can allow users to request permission to join your group by selecting Anyone in the organization can ask.

        NOTE: Outside of a few special use cases, we recommend against using "Anyone on the web" or "Anyone can ask" unless called for by the nature of your group (Theatre attendees, perspective students, collaboration with students from other institutions, etc.)
      5. Now click CREATE and you're all set!  Return to My Groups to manage your new group.

Frequently Requested Settings

There are MANY settings you can adjust after creating your new group.  These are a few of the more common ones:

  1. Adding Outside Members (group members not from
    1. Click My Groups and locate your mailgroup in the list
    2. Click the small blue Manage Group link underneath the group name 
    3. in the left-hand column, Click Permissions then Basic Permissions
    4. Check the box next to Allow new users not in

Back to Top