April 29, 2008 – University of Virginia students graduating in May can request lifetime U.Va. e-mail accounts with Google and Microsoft, U.Va.'s two new contracted e-mail service providers, the University's Information Technology and Communication division announced Monday. A phased rollout over the coming months will gradually make the services available to all U.Va. students.
Both vendors offer communication tools and integration with other applications that the current U.Va. Central Mail Service does not. In addition, students may now retain their U.Va. e-mail accounts for life, so that when they leave the University, their e-mail addresses, messages and folders will be preserved and available for their use.
As announced earlier this year, ITC has been working in conjunction with Student Council, the Alumni Association and the U.Va. Development and Public Affairs Office to dramatically enhance student e-mail through a partnership with the two companies. After several months in development and testing, the Web interfaces enabling students to request an account with a vendor and to manage their e-mail address and aliases are ready.
ITC is sending invitations to any student who, according to the registrar's records, will graduate this May. Fourth-year undergraduates, third-year law students and all other graduating students are invited to create an account with Google's Gmail Apps (www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/) and/or Microsoft's Live@edu (get.liveatedu.com/Education/Connect/).
Phased invitations will be sent to other student classes in descending order by year of graduation, ending with new students entering in the fall. The U.Va. Alumni Association will be in touch with U.Va. alumni in coming weeks about their phased transition to the new services.
"This week begins the U.Va. student e-mail transition that we've all been eagerly awaiting," said James Hilton, vice president and chief information officer. "But the transition will actually involve a three-step process. First, starting [Monday], students may request an account with one or both of the vendors to sample their services. After creating an account, students may then use the new E-mail Address Management Tool" — available at https://ams.itc.virginia.edu — "to create aliases, if desired, and to direct where they want their U.Va. e-mail delivered.”
The third step in the transition will not occur until later this summer, after testing of the e-mail migration tools is complete. At that point, students in queue for migration will have their existing mail and folders on the CMS moved to their chosen vendor.
Hilton notes that the reason for the staggered timing of the rollout is to test the load on servers and minimize problems for everyone. "If all goes well with graduating students requesting their accounts, then we should be able to offer phase two of the invitations to the next class in just a couple of weeks."
For More Information
To queue your account for migration to a contracted vendor: www.itc.virginia.edu/email/move/migrate.html
About the student/alumni e-mail transition:
About the new E-mail address management system: www.itc.virginia.edu/email/ams