College Listserv Instructions

Listserv uses

A listserv is a technology that enables mass distribution of emails. Williams uses listservs to send official college messages to pre-defined groups within our community: all faculty, all staff, all students, etc. Please direct any questions about the technology to [email protected].

The main Williams listservs are available to departments, offices and units for college business only. College Council leaders are also authorized to submit messages about their official business to the student listservs. For other messaging needs, we recommend Google Groups.

Because listservs require multi-step approval, they should never be a first resort for emergency communications. The college maintains the Blackboard Connect system for emergency messaging: please contact Campus Safety and Security with any questions.

How the listservs work

Each Williams listserv is curated by an office, department or unit that has primary responsibility for working with that audience. For example, Human Resources curates the staff listserv, while the Dean of Faculty curates the faculty one. Please contact the curators with any questions about uses of the lists they curate.

When you send a message to a listserv, it goes into a queue. The listserv software automatically sends you back an email asking you to confirm that you submitted the message—this helps prevent impersonation.

Once you confirm, your queued message is reviewed for suitability by an approver. Each list has at least 3-4 designated approvers (OIT staff also act as backups—see below). If the approver judges that the message is an acceptable use of the list, they approve it and it goes out to its intended audience. Please note that it may take several minutes for our email servers to deliver the message to everyone on a list.

The list of designated approvers is strictly managed to ensure coordination. Contact the Office of Communications with any questions about listserv approval.

Instructions for sending a listserv message

  1. Choose the appropriate list or lists and put them in the To: line, like any other email address.
  2. Compose your message in any standard email program. Listserv emails can include standard formatting, attachments, embedded images, etc. Message size is limited to 10MB maximum.
  3. Send the message.
  4. You’ll receive an email asking you to confirm that you sent the message, to protect against impersonation. Click the link in the email to confirm that you’re the sender. If you’re “sending as” someone else, the confirmation email will go to the reply-to address you specified for that process. If you submit a message to a list of which you’re a moderator, clicking the approval link will immediately distribute your message.
  5. Once you confirm, your message will go into a queue for each list you chose.
  6. An approver for each list will make sure your message adheres to college guidelines and is appropriate for their audience. If so, they’ll approve it, and it will go out. If not, they’ll contact you to explain any concerns and suggest edits or recommend alternate delivery methods. Listserv submissions from non-college sources are rejected without explanation.
  7. We strongly recommend that you contact an approver directly whenever you submit a listserv message (please contact the curating office for the most current list of current approvers). They’ll receive an automatic alert, but direct contact ensures that someone can approve your message quickly.
  8. In the unlikely event that you can’t reach an approver, the following OIT staff members can approve messages for any college list: David Parks, Seth Rogers, Edward Nowlan, Barron Koralesky or Criss Laidlaw.


 List of college-maintained listservs: The entire Williams community: faculty, staff, students, emeriti faculty, staff retirees, and members of the students-loa list
Curating office: Communications
[email protected] All current faculty
Curating office: Dean of Faculty
[email protected] All permanent staff
Curating office: Human Resources
[email protected] All current faculty and staff
Curating office: Human Resources
[email protected] All enrolled students and members of the students-loa list
[email protected] The first-year class
[email protected] The sophomore class
[email protected] The junior class
[email protected] The senior class
[email protected] Sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are taking a gap year or a leave of absence
Curating offices for student lists:

Dean of the College
VP for Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity