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Email Distribution List Use (“ZWD lists”)

The College of Wooster uses e-mail system distribution lists to communicate with campus constituencies about College “business” including official communications, announcements, and invitations to College-wide events for current students, staff, faculty, and retirees.  Faculty and staff can mail to “zwd” distribution lists. Students cannot mail directly to “zwd” lists; students who wish to email to “zwd” lists should contact the Dean of Students’ office which serves as the “moderator” for student-initiated “zwd” email.  An exception is made for student leadership of Scot Council to send official communications on behalf of this governance organization.

At the time the College established “zwd” lists, experience at other institutions indicated that community “self-enforcing” results in appropriate use of system distribution list capabilities — generally someone (or more) provides feedback to the individual when inappropriate messages are sent, resulting in the individual thinking twice before sending another system distribution list message.  Community self-enforcing also results in a manageable number of system distribution list messages, over time (at first people may use the resource a lot; they learn not all uses are appropriate; the number of messages dwindle).  Given this, the College established “zwds” as “self-enforcing” and did not set any formal moderating process or further restriction on who could send emails to “zwd” lists.

Message Guidelines and How to Send a Message to a Distribution List

  • Messages sent to campus distribution lists should:
  • Student access to system distribution lists: Students who wish to send announcements or messages to system distribution lists must contact the Dean of Students’ Office for review and approval.  The Dean of Students’ Office will advise the Director of Technology Services as to the students who are to have access to send email on behalf of Scot Council.
  • Subject Title: So users may easily sort their messages, IT recommends that all system distribution list messages should have the subject title “System DLM – [enter what your announcement is about]”.  For example a system distribution list message about a power outage on campus resulting from activity at the science facility project site would have the following subject title: “System DLM – Planned Power Outage for RW Williams Building Project”
  • All system distribution list messages should have the following text inserted at the beginning of the message.  This helps remind recipients not to reply to the entire list if their responses are intended for the sender.
    Please do not respond to all recipients of this system distribution list message  – if you need to reply, reply to the sender only.”
  • In the “To:” field, type the name or names of the system distribution list(s) you want to send to, for example:
    • ZWDSTUDENTS@wooster.edu          for all students
    • ZWDFACULTY@wooster.edu             for all faculty
    • ZWDSTAFF@wooster.edu                 for all staff
    • ZWDRETIREES@wooster.edu           for all retirees
      [note: in the past, IT recommended that the ZWD list be entered in the “bcc:” field.  We now recommend using the “to:” field so that recipients know the intended audience of the message]
  • Send the message as you would any other E-mail message – with the subject and text insert as outlined above.
  • In general there should be only one well-written message which goes out to the system distribution lists per event/announcement (unless there are extenuating circumstances which require another message).


  • Identifying a Message in your Inbox as a System Distribution List Message: There should be two pieces of information that will help you to identify a system distribution list message.  When you open a system distribution list message you will find in the “to” field, “ZWD…” and the subject field should start with “System DLM…”.  If you have your Inbox view configured to provide a pre-view of messages you should see “ZWD…” and “System DLM…”.   For help in configuring your Inbox view, contact the Technology Services desk at x4357.
  • The system distribution list is not a substitute for a 365 Group where discussion of one or more topics occurs or is an “opt in” or “opt out” group. Technology Services has implemented 365 Groups on campus and students, as well as faculty and staff, have discovered that they can create their own “groups.”  For help in establishing and using 365 Groups, contact the Technology Services desk.
  • If you want to reply to the sender of a message to a system distribution list, use the “Reply” featureNOT the “Reply All” feature. Using “Reply All” will send your reply to everyone who received the original message, which may not be appropriate in most cases. 
  • Remember when creating your E-mail message to focus on what your intended audience needs to know (times, dates, locations, alternate plans in case of inclement weather, etc.).  It is better for the reader to receive one well-written and complete message about an event than to receive several messages clarifying details.
  • Timing is everything!  Keep in mind that not everyone checks their E-mail everyday (or even on weekends and holidays).  Give readers adequate time to get your message and make plans. 

 If you have questions regarding “zwd” lists and 365 Groups, please contact Technology Services, x4357.

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