As every Stanford student can attest to, email lists can be a pain. And no one knows the nuisance of email lists better than I do. As a resident of Crothers (a residence with 350+ students and therefore 350+ people on the chat list), I am all too familiar with the plague of the email list.
“Want to check psets for (fill in blank with a class I am not in)?”
“Apply for (fill in the blank with a club I am not interested in)!!!
These emails are not really annoying if they only happen every once in a while. But after getting about 20 emails about George Clooney, I was ready to beg him not to come to campus.
Anyway, anyone I know who is subscribed to a large list (Diaspora, Activists, etc.) knows the pain I am talking about. Some just unsubscribe from the list or filter it into a folder of emails never to be read. Most, however, begrudgingly sort through their emails daily, muttering to themselves about the ridiculousness that is getting a hundred emails a day from people they don’t know.
But as much as I hate email lists, I can’t help but also love them too. Email lists, while a pain, ultimately showcase some of the attributes of Stanford students that I think make us the amazing group of people we are.
Email lists highlight our enthusiasm to share our passions with everyone. When we find something we love, we want other people (who might possibly love it too) to find it, just as we have. So we email out a thousand lists. Maybe it is a little overkill, but Stanford students don’t half do anything.
Email lists also portray Stanford student body unity at it’s finest. Stanford students are willing to do a lot for each other, just on the basis of being Stanford students. So while I’m reading the email entitled “Anybody have a wrench I can borrow?” I might be thinking, “Don’t you have actual friends to ask?”, but you can bet if I have one, I will email the person back. This is also what makes Stanford students baller at online contests like the Pepsi Refresh project. We might not know the person that is trying to raise money for x,y, or z cause, but if we get an email asking us to vote for his/her project online, we will. I don’t know how many times I have voted for someone else’s cause online, only to get a very happy email a couple months down the road saying, “YAY!! I WON!!” And hey, I know that they will do amazing things with the money.
Furthermore, email lists display the diversity that truly is Stanford. I would never know about some of the amazing things Stanford has to offer without them, especially those outside my usual sphere of interests. I would miss out on seeing Pawn or going to see Harry Potter early. I would never go see Dil Se or Arabesque. Without the help of my trusty email list, I would never know about anything that wasn’t in my direct interest path.
So I guess, even though they sometimes make me want to throw my computer, I really can’t complain about them all too much. After all, without my email lists, I would miss out on George Clooney. And that would truly be a tragedy.