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Email List F.A.Q.

What’s the difference between an email list and a Google Group?

Until 2021, campus email lists (or listservs) used a legacy platform called Mailman. Starting in February 2021, campus email lists are managed in Google Groups, which offers the same functionality and options as Mailman with a superior interface and more flexibility. Email lists use the domain, even if they are managed by Google. Class emails lists have been powered by Google Groups since summer 2020.

When should I use an email list vs. other email communications tools?

Traditionally, email lists were used as discussion forums for different affinity groups. Many members of the campus community choose to set up their email lists as announcement tools, where only the list manager can post to the list. UMass Amherst offers multiple communication and collaboration tools to meet the diverse needs of our community. You can choose:

  • MS Teams for communication, collaboration, and discussion within groups
  • Marketing Cloud for email marketing and publicity
  • Google Groups for class communications or regular announcements/discussions to a group of UMass and non-UMass members who do not change frequently

Learn more about UMass Amherst’s Digital Communications Policy

Why move campus email lists to Google Groups?

Google Groups provide a superior user experience, more flexible options than Mailman, our legacy list management platform, and better integration with Google Workspace, Google’s suite of applications for higher education. Equally important is that Mailman is no longer reliable for message delivery given its aging under-the-hood infrastructure.

Benefits of upgrading to Google Groups include:

  • More intuitive interface: list managers and subscribers have the ability to find all their lists, including message archives in one location
  • List subscribers can easily unsubscribe from the lists they no longer need
  • List managers can delete lists without having to contact UMass Amherst IT
  • Larger attachment size (25MB vs 1 MB)
  • List managers can easily lock conversations
  • And more...

I am the owner of several campus email lists - what do I need to know about the upgrade to Google Groups?

  • List email addresses are not changing. You will continue to use the same list email addresses after the upgrade to Google Groups. You will be able to post and receive messages from the UMass Amherst email lists to which you subscribe.
  • List moderation will be available, meaning you will be able to approve and/or reject posts as needed. List administration operations will be available, but changes made after February 23 may not be moved to Google Groups. This means that adding/deleting members or any other changes you make to your lists during the upgrade may not be reflected in Google Groups. 
  • After February 26, 2021, please log in to with your NetID and password and review your lists. If you see any discrepancies between your old and new lists, please contact
  • Important change: Google Groups refers to previous Mailman list owners as ‘list managers.’ List managers are by default added to the lists they manage.

I subscribe to several campus email lists - what do I need to know about the upgrade to Google Groups?

List email addresses are not changing. If you are receiving messages from your current lists, you will continue to receive them after the upgrade to Google Groups. You will be able to post and receive messages from the UMass Amherst email lists to which you subscribe. To review your membership to campus lists, log in with your NetID and password at after February 26, 2021. You will have a much clearer view of the lists you subscribe to as well as available campus lists. You can choose to subscribe to new lists or unsubscribe from existing lists on this screen.

How do I create a new list?

Starting on February 17, 2021, you can request new email lists in SPIRE (IT Accounts > Email List Request/View). Once a list is created (within the hour), you can manage preferences and subscribers at (log in with your NetID and password).

How do I delete a list?

You can delete lists in SPIRE (IT Accounts > Email List Request/View).

Who can request a campus email list?

Faculty, staff, and graduate students can request a campus email list. Email lists can be requested for academic and/or administrative units and registered student organizations. Undergraduate students can work with their advisor or supervisor and contact

What is the standard format for campus email lists?

In Google Groups, lists have the following format: @[department-abbreviation] or where the department abbreviation is the campus unit to which the list manager belongs (e.g., list names are no longer available. Email lists converted from Mailman will preserve their original email address.

I have privacy concerns. Can anyone with a Google account see and join UMass email lists?

No. UMass email lists are only visible to members of the campus community. However, you can add list members with non-UMass email addresses to the lists that you manage.

Which lists will be automatically upgraded to Google Groups - What are the upgrade criteria?

Lists that meet one or more of these criteria will not be automatically moved to Google Groups:

  • Lists with 0/null members
  • Lists where the only member is the owner
  • Lists ending in
  • Lists whose last post is before October 1, 2019 

List owners: Check your email for a message about which groups will and will not be automatically upgraded.