Google Apps e-mail update, MEDLIFE granted club status

Student Government

Two representatives from Information Technology recently updated students on the department’s progress switching the College’s mail platform from Zimbra to Google Apps for Education.

Director of Networking Shawn Sivy and Assistant Director of User Support Services Pat Pasinski gave a brief presentation before the Student Government general body during last week’s SG meeting.

“The timeline (for the switch) is possibly April 1. We’d roll out an opt-in program,” Sivy said. “If you don’t convert, or if we don’t offer it, on May 18, we’ll begin converting all accounts to Google Apps.”

Students who opt-in can use Google Apps to manage their e-mail before all accounts switch to the new platform this summer.

“If you opt in … we go into your Zimbra account and … forward all your mail to Google Apps,” Sivy said. “All your old mail will exist temporarily on Zimbra.”

Information Technology will transfer students’ Zimbra message archives to their Google Apps accounts “two or three days” after they switch, according to Sivy.

The College announced it had selected Google Apps as its new e-mail and calendar platform on Nov. 18, after four years of considering options to replace Zimbra, according to Pasinski.

“Alumni came to us and said that they’d really like to keep their (College) e-mails for life,” Pasinski said.

The Information Technology staff liked the idea, but it was expensive to continue to license students’ e-mail accounts after they graduated, Pasinski said.

Then, IT found Google Apps.

“Google is free for universities,” Pasinski said. “We’re saving $20,000 this year just in the costs of e-mail licensing.”

Like the Zimbra Collaboration Suite, Google Apps provides services to College students besides e-mail.

“You’ll have (access to a) calendar, documents,” Sivy said.

Google Apps’ e-mail server, Gmail, also can store 20 times more mail than Zimbra’s, according to Pasinski.

Students can view their Google Apps accounts now by visiting mail.apps.tcnj.edu. Users are prompted to sign in using their College username and password.

“You can actually go in and see your inbox. You can’t get any mail, but you can send mail,” Sivy said.

Currently, students’ College e-mail addresses appear as (username)@apps.tcnj.edu when accessed on the Google Apps platform. But switching to Google Apps won’t change students’ e-mail addresses, Sivy explained.

“Whenever you send an e-mail, we strip out the ‘apps,’ so your e-mail address doesn’t change,” Sivy said. “You’ll still be ‘username’@tcnj.edu.”

For more information on the College’s switch to Google Apps, go to googleapps.pages.tcnj.edu.

SG also granted club status to the College’s chapter of Medicine, Education & Development for Low Income Families Everywhere (MEDLIFE), a national nonprofit healthcare organization.

“We bring medicine, education and infrastructure to the poorest of the poor people in Latin America,” said Krupa Jani, senior biology major.

According to Jani, MEDLIFE sought club status in order to advertise its fundraisers. The club hopes to take trips to Latin America.

Sophomore biology major Kalvin Foo, senator of science, was pleased with the club’s distinction from other health-focused organizations at the College such as the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS).

“Each group has a different focus … and this one seems to have more of an application goal, while the others have educational goals,” Foo said.

MEDLIFE received club status by a unanimous vote.

Emily Brill can be reached at brill3@tcnj.edu.