Decide How to Email a Group of People

If you want to email a group of people without having to type in their email addresses every time, several group email options are available. 

Google Group

  • Email address format: e.g. (your choice)
  • Email delivery: Emails sent to the list are forwarded to each member's inbox. There is no central "inbox," though Groups can be set up to archive messages on the Group's page.
  • Who can send to the group? Can be set to receive messages from anyone, only from group members, or only from managers. 
  • Other benefits: Google groups are also an easy way to assign permissions within Google to a group of people, such as the ability to view a Google Calendar or Document. (Note: Sending permissions also affect members' ability to RSVP to calendar invitations sent to the group.)

Service Catalog: Google Groups
Service Catalog: BrownGroups - maintain group membership automatically based on department (with the ability to add / remove individuals)


  • Email address format: e.g. (your choice)
  • Email delivery: Emails sent to the list are forwarded to each member's inbox. There is no central "inbox," though the list can be set up to archive messages on the Listserv page (
  • Who can send to the group? A Listserv can be configured to accept all mail, moderate all mail, or moderate mail from non-members.
  • Other benefits: A lot of people are familiar with subscribing and unsubscribing to Listservs, so they are appropriate to use when you want people to easily join and leave the list. They are often used for informal interest groups including people external to Brown. 

Service Catalog: Listserv

Shared Mailbox

  • Email address format: e.g. (your choice)
  • Email delivery: Emails sent to the address are kept in a central inbox (not delivered to individual recipients). People who have been given access to the shared mailbox will have to remember to check the mailbox for new mail.
  • Who can send to the group? Anyone. Cannot be restricted.
  • Other benefits: Mailbox owners sometimes find it easier to track mail to their group when it is kept in a central inbox. For example, if one person reads and responds to an email to the address, others will see this response.  

Service Catalog: Shared Mailbox

Contact Group

  • Email address format: A contact group does NOT have a unique email address that cannot be emailed by others, but appears in the autofill as you type in the To field of an email. It's only visible to you.
  • Email delivery: n/a
  • Who can send to the group? Only you. 
  • Other benefits: No need to put in a request - you can create these yourself whenever you'd like.   

Documentation: How to Create a Contact Group ( video)

Class Discussion List

A Class Discussion List provides instructors with an email address that sends mail to their class roster. The Class Discussion List may be used for two-way email discussion between instructors and students in a course.

Service Catalog: Class Discussion List

Class Announcement List

A Class Announcement List enables instructors to send one way (no-reply) email messages to their students. 

Service Catalog: Class Announcement List

Bulk Email

This service is used by high level University offices to send official email communications to large, specified segments of the University population.

Service Catalog: Bulk Email

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