Students at Salisbury University are no strangers to living in a fast-paced, highly technological world.
From television to social media to online news outlets, Americans today—and especially younger Americans—are part of an increasingly complex system of communications technology. This system delivers copious amounts of information rapidly.
One way that this technological system manifests itself, for SU students, is through their school emails. Students receive many emails from the university every day. A large proportion of these emails are sent to all students, regardless of their relevance to the student receiving the email.
A high volume of university email may not seem to be much of a problem. After all, these emails are well-intended. Each one details an event going on around campus, a new class being offered or other information.
Instead of keeping students informed, some of these emails have become more of a nuisance than anything else. A lot the emails are irrelevant to the individual students who receive it, and the purpose of the emails—to simply stay updated—has turned into a frustrating challenge, in which students must sort through their inboxes to find the most important emails, while ignoring the others.
Many students already feel bogged-down by digital information overload. According to a 2016 survey from Pew Research Center, 20 percent of U.S. adults feel overloaded by information, likely due in part to the continual stream of information that the digital media provides. The flood of constant, and often irrelevant, emails is only aggravating this problem.
In the 21st century, digital communications such as emails are increasingly common and important. However, that does not mean that we should over-use these communications.
In fact, we should use them carefully. We should not communicate just to communicate. There needs to be a purpose behind our transmission of information.
This has yet to be reflected in SU’s student email system, one in which not all information that students receive is important, or relevant, to them.
One way in which the high capacity of student emails could be combated is through an opt-out system. This system could allow students to opt out of receiving certain routine emails, thereby making the students’ lives a little easier.
No longer would they have to sort through irrelevant emails. Only the emails that pertain to them and their interests would remain.
The university could perhaps set up an opt-out system by emailing out a survey at the beginning of each semester. This survey could allow students to check boxes for which email updates they would like to receive.
Not every type of email update should be on this list (for instance, all students should receive emergency email notifications), but students should be able to opt out of routine emails that they believe are not relevant to them. There is no reason why a freshman should be receiving an email regarding graduation.
Though the high volume of email that students receive through their school may not appear to be much of a problem, it can be distracting and overwhelming for these students. Fortunately, steps could easily be taken in order to diminish this problem.
By ALLISON GUY