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SHRL Listserv Do’s and Don’ts.


Student Housing and Residential Life utilizes many listservs, or electronic mailing lists, to communicate with residents and staff throughout the year. In order to best communicate with audiences, review the following best practices for listservs:


  • Create a sense of consistency and inform your audience about how you plan to communicate with them
    • For example, “You will be receiving information from me in this way, at this time, at this frequency.”
  • Keep subject lines concise but informative
    • Include a call to action (Join us, Sign Up, Visit, Attend, Share)
    • Use keywords like free, giveaways, food, repairs, outages
  • Review the message formatting before approving to be distributed
    • Misinformation, grammar and spelling errors weaken our credibility as a department
  • Include images in the body of the message (not as an attachment)
  • Add a signature line
    • Recipients will have the ability to communicate with the sender for additional questions or comments
  • Send a message from someone your audience is familiar with to increase their likelihood of reading
    • Community Mentor
    • Residence Life Coordinator
    • Faculty in Residence
  • Use a template
    • Utilize platforms like Canva or Sway (both have free templates!)
  • Communicate with other listserv owners about who is sending emails to the list before sending out your messages
    • Avoid sending the same message on the same day from different people
  • Consider sending one email 7 days before your event or program and send an additional email the day of your program


  • Send out multiple emails with the same information
    • Avoid repeated messages that say TODAY, IN FIVE MINUTES, THREE MINUTES LEFT
  • Use acronyms that your audience is not familiar with
  • Attach images to your emails
  • Overcommunicate with your listserv
    • Utilize a digest format
      • List of events for the week
      • List of items for the month