On Sept. 23, the College will be replacing its SquirrelMail e-mail system with Zimbra Collaboration Suite, which will provide students and faculty with a calendar option, more storage space and the ability to access e-mail from a mobile device.
Zimbra will also be replacing Meeting Maker, which is used by faculty and staff for scheduling.
According to Shawn Sivy, director of Networking and Technical Services in Information Technology (IT), both SquirrelMail and Meeting Maker function well, but Zimbra offers more features.
“While they individually do a good job, the College wants to move to the next step of an integrated e-mail/calendaring collaboration suite that provides additional features,” he said in an e-mail interview.
Sivy mentioned features such as a more robust Web interface and support for mobile devices such as smartphones like the Motorola Q and Windows Mobile-based phones such as the Treo 700w. If a student has a smartphone, the student can configure the phone to access their e-mail and calendar from their phone.
In addition, students, staff and faculty will be able to share their calendars and collaborate with other Zimbra users.
Finally, Zimbra will provide more e-mail storage space, as IT will increase the storage space from 200MB to 250MB and monitor to see if more e-mail space can eventually be added.
Sivy said the cost of Meeting Maker is about the same as the cost of subscribing to Zimbra.
“In the end we are now getting more features and support for the same cost,” he said.
Sivy said IT has been evaluating other e-mail packages over the past year and decided on Zimbra in May.
The conversion process began in June and will officially happen on Sept. 23.
“The switchover process is fairly straightforward,” he said. “The training, documentation and help desk planning will be the most crucial part of the project.”
Students are generally happy with the switch.
Jasen Sood, a junior psychology major, said he started forwarding e-mails to Gmail because he liked the features better.
“Maybe I’ll give the school e-mail another shot now,” he said.
Jamie Pernal, sophomore chemistry major, said she is excited for the switch.
“It would be nice to have other functions like a calendar available,” she said.
Sivy said SquirrelMail will not be completely gone when the switch to Zimbra is complete.
“(SquirrelMail) will still be around for a bit until everyone transitions over,” he said. “But once people start using the new Web interface, they won’t want to go back.”