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Understanding Email Distribution Lists at Seattle University


Seattle University uses email as a formal means of communication. Certain departments and people on campus have the ability (and responsibility) to send official SU email to large target audiences – all faculty, all staff, all SU undergraduate students etc.


What are the campus distribution lists?

A distribution list is a single email address that will deliver to multiple people. This means you can send an email to the list entitled ALL-undergrad, and you'll be sending to all undergrad students. Pretty helpful, right?

These combined lists exist for convenience’s sake. You are not required to use them, and if you prefer sending your email to the individual campus distribution lists, that’s fine with ITS.There are hundreds of other distribution lists used at Seattle University for non-official purposes. You may use these lists if you like or if an official list cannot meet your needs. But please keep in mind that they are not maintained by ITS, and so we cannot guarantee that they are up-to-date or accurate.

Who can send to these lists?

Each campus distribution list is restricted, so only a specific group of users can send to that list. These restrictions are unique to each distribution list; if you can send to one list it doesn't guarantee you can send to another.

How are the lists maintained?

ITS maintains these lists in a regular, automated manner. It’s not magic, but it is technical and boring even by IT standards. If you want to know more, we'd be happy to go into detail over a cup of coffee.

When are the lists updated?

Except for the School of Law lists, each distribution list is automatically updated nightly.

How do I send to these lists?

Only approved people and departments can send to these lists. Once you have approval, use Microsoft Outlook to send to these lists.

When crafting your email, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Use the right distribution list. You probably already know which distribution list to use to reach your intended audience. If not, please check with your colleagues or with us.
  2. Use the From: field. This is where you replace your name with your department email address, usually something like
  3. Make sure From: and To: match. If your email is being sent from, you should put in the To: field. The To: field cannot be blank, and – for campus communications – it should not contain a campus distribution list. Instead, you should…..
  4. Enter campus distribution lists in the BCC: field. Your target audience should be entered in the BCC: fields. This is a common and recommended practice to help prevent disruptive reply-all email storms. You should reference your target audience in the subject line or body of an email.