Mail Groups

Mailgroups now in Google Groups

This page describes our legacy Mailgroup infrastructure retired in Summer of 2020.  For current Mailgroup information, instructions, and tutorials, please visit our Google Groups page.

If you are here to migrate your old Mailgroups into Google Groups, use this link to access the legacy Mailgroup Manager and follow the step-by-step instructions on our Mailgroup Migration Tutorial site.

After Migration, use Google Groups to manage the Mailgroups for which you are listed as the owner.

What is a mail group?

A mail group works much like an e-mail distribution center. Messages are addressed to the mail group name. When a message is received, it is forwarded to everyone who is a member of the mail group. Recipients of the message see only the group name in the message header. Replies go to all members of the group.

Who can request a mail group?

Only faculty, staff, and student organization leaders can request mail groups.

How can mail groups be used?

The following are some examples of how mail groups are currently being used:

  • Campus organizations
  • Campus committees
  • Class discussion groups

If you're not sure if your idea for a mail group is appropriate, consult with the WITS staff. Call the Help Desk at x6767, or send an e-mail message to

Who maintains the mail group membership?

You do, as the owner of the mail group. Once your mail group is setup, you'll be able to use the Mail Group Manager to add and remove members of the group. Class discussion groups are updated automatically with the current class roster, so instructors don't have to add and remove members.

What is the Mail Group Manager?

The Mail Group Manager ( provides a convenient, password-protected interface for managing the mail groups that you own, as well as groups you are a member of and groups that you can join. Go the Mail Group Manager address, enter your Willamette name and password, and follow the instructions on the screen.

Why are three choices required for the mail group e-mail name?

We try to make your first choice the e-mail name of your group. However, there are many common words that the mail system will reject. Also, names are screened to reduce confusion (e.g., a group named law would not be allowed because it is unclear what, if any, relation that might have to the College of Law). With three choices, it is likely that you will get one of them. WITS will contact you if none of your choices are possible.

Mail Groups for Classes

Faculty members can create mail groups for any of their current-semester courses that are linked with the registrar's course roster data. The data is synchronized daily with the registrar's course data, adding and removing people that have been added or dropped from the course. Mail groups for courses are created on a per-semester basis and are purged at the end of the semester, after grading has ended. To request class mailgroups, go tothe Mailgroup Manager and check the Create Mailgroup? box next to the course name.

Faculty members who want a mail group for a class but don't want it linked to the official roster information can create a mail group in the usual way.


  1. The e-mail name must be all lower-case, no spaces and must contain a dash. Use only letters, numbers, and dashes (-).
  2. A dash is required, in order to distinguish group names from personal e-mail addresses. For example, use chamber-choir instead of chamberchoir. Also, dashes can be used in place of spaces, which are not permitted.
  3. Avoid including 'wu' or 'willamette' in the e-mail name.
  4. Be explicit. Choose a name that is almost as descriptive as the full name. Rather than use just one word, use a phrase by joining multiple words with a dash (-). The length of the e-mail name cannot exceed 20 characters.
  5. Avoid acronyms if possible. By themselves, acronyms are ambiguous and may not distinguish one mail group from another. A phrase that includes an acronym would be a better choice.
  6. Form to apply for a Mailgroup: WITS Mailgroup Application.

What is the difference between "Name for the mail group" and "Full name of mail group"?

The e-mail name for the mail group is a short, one-word nickname for your mail group, similar to your e-mail or login name. The full name of your mail group is a more complete description of your mail group.

Some examples of e-mail names and full names (names for classes automatically use the course id as the name*):




Chamber Choir


Opening Days Leaders


Students Enrolled in Math 130 Section 2

The full name should be a short, descriptive phrase using only letters, numbers, spaces, and dashes (-). Be sure to indicate exact capitalization for the full name. Names containing any other characters will be rejected.

Form to apply for a Mailgroup: WITS Mailgroup Application.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send e-mail to or call the Help Desk at x6767.

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