Why?

To improve our security posture, we are changing how WPI alumni email will be processed. Moving entirely to forwarding mitigates the security risk associated with tens of thousands of additional WPI accounts and inboxes, many of which are not actively used.  Many alumni already choose to forward messages to another email account, and we will assist those who need to setup forwarding. 

Impact

While we are happy to maintain the alumni benefit of using a WPI email address, mail will be forwarded to an email account of your choice and will no longer rest in a WPI inbox. Email addresses will all be maintained in one location, @alum.wpi.edu. Alumni with a username@wpi.edu will move to username@alum.wpi.edu; some usernames will change to prevent duplication.

Action Needed

Alumni: If you don't have a forwarding email address, by July 12, 2024 please enter one using instructions in Forward Email (Related Items). Upcoming graduates: please provide a non-WPI email address in the My Commencement (Actions) form to be used when your @alum.wpi.edu address and forwarding are established.

Details

Protecting the data entrusted to us by our community is of utmost priority. Alumni accounts in particular have regularly been targets of phishing attacks, and making this change will improve security. William & Mary, Harvard, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and many others have also transitioned alumni email from a full mailbox to forwarding to address security risks. WPI’s decision to maintain all alumni email addresses in one location, @alum.wpi.edu, with forwarding mitigates the security risk associated with tens of thousands of additional WPI accounts and inboxes, thousands of which are not actively used and are therefore more susceptible to being maliciously targeted and compromised. Many alumni already choose to forward messages to another email account to conveniently view all messages in one place. WPI ITS is here to support alumni through this change. 

What is Changing:

  • All alumni will need a forwarding address.
  • A WPI login will not be required.
  • Mail will no longer be stored by WPI.
  • @alum.wpi.edu email addresses will be used. For some alumni, this will be a change from your current @wpi.edu address.
  • If a forwarding email address is not provided by July 12, messages sent to your WPI email address will bounce; they will neither be received by WPI nor delivered to you.


Forwarding Required by July 12, 2024:

Please ensure that your WPI email address is not used as a recovery option for the account you are forwarding to.

For those who already have forwarding to a non-WPI address in place, no additional action is needed.

For alumni who are not forwarding their WPI email, by July 12th please use instructions in Forward Email (Related Items) to add a forwarding address using Outlook Web Access. Making this change now prevents any disruption to receipt of future messages sent to your WPI address.

Email Address:

If you currently have a username@alum.wpi.edu, your email address will not change.

If you currently have a username@wpi.edu, that will move to username@alum.wpi.edu. Some usernames will change to prevent duplication.

Phased Transition:

International Student accounts will retain their @wpi.edu email address for four years past graduation in order for WPI to comply with government regulations.

New graduate accounts will be retained until Feb. 1 following the year of graduation to accommodate final academic submissions, data backup, job searches, and email transition. A forwarding email address should be submitted via the Commencement Form (linked in Actions).

Additional Information:

We will continue to communicate as the implementation approaches, both to alumni and Class of 2024 soon-to-be graduates. Thank you for your cooperation as we continue Information Technology’s commitment to improve services and security for our community.

FAQ:

1. Will I keep my WPI email address? 

Addresses @alum.wpi.edu will not change. Addresses @wpi.edu will be converted to @alum.wpi.edu; some will change to avoid duplication. WPI ITS will communicate necessary changes. Example: jsmith@wpi.edu may become jsmith47@alum.wpi.edu. 
When addresses change from @wpi.edu to @alum.wpi.edu, any forwarding configuration will carry over as well.

2. What if I already have forwarding? 

WPI IT will use the non-WPI forwarding address you have provided.  Please ensure that you do not have forwarding set to an address @wpi.edu or @alum.wpi.edu.

3. What if I don't have forwarding? 

You can add a non-WPI forwarding address now using the Forward Email instructions (Related Article). Ensure that you provide a forwarding address by July 12, 11:59 PM so that WPI ITS can apply it prior to the transition. 

4. What if my email address changes in the future? 

To update your email forward after July 13, 2024 you may contact the WPI IT Service Desk (its@wpi.edu or 508-831-5888)  for assistance.

5. What will happen to the email and contacts currently in my WPI mailbox? 

After July 12, 2024 WPI ITS will only maintain the @alum.wpi.edu address, and not the mailbox contents. Prior to that day you may choose to save mailbox data using the instructions to Export Outlook .PST File (Related Items). 

6.  Will I still be able to send from my WPI email address?

Because the account and mailbox are not being retained, as of July 13, 2024 you will not be able to send from your @alumni.wpi.edu address.

7. What if I am using my WPI email as my primary mailbox?

We value the connections with our alumni, and we understand and apologize for the disruption this causes for the small number who are using this as their primary mailbox.  This change is being made after taking a significant amount of time to carefully consider all the viable options, weighing the risks against the benefits. We are providing everyone with a minimum of 6 months to prepare and our ITS team is here to support you in the change. 

8. What if my non-WPI email account uses my WPI email address as a recovery option?

Any accounts or services using your WPI email for recovery should be changed. For example, Gompei has GOAT@wpi.edu or GOAT@alum.wpi.edu as the recovery option for GOAT@othermail.com.  Once GOAT@alum.wpi.edu only forwards to GOAT@othermail.com,  Gompei cannot retrieve a recovery email if locked out of that primary inbox.

9. How can I help my contacts understand that my reply will not come from my WPI email address?

Adding information to your signature or auto-reply prior to the July change indicating what your reply address is may be helpful to your contacts. For example: “Thank you for emailing me at username@alum.wpi.edu. As of July 13, messages will receive a reply from me using [FORWARDING ADDRESS]."

10. What if I don't see the forwarded message from @alum.wpi.edu in my alternate email inbox?

Check the junk mail; if your fowarding address has the exact or very similar username as your @alum.wpi.edu address, “impersonation” detection within your email provider may be triggered to classify the message as junk.  Adding the sending address @alum.wpi.edu to your safe senders list should enforce delivery to the Inbox. For Outlook Web, Safe Senders in Email instructions are linked in Related Articles; other providers should have instructions in their "Help."

11. Why can’t we put MFA on all alumni accounts rather than changing to forwarding?

While we agree that MFA is a good option to protect email accounts, none of the options are fail-safe and we have had situations where even the best MFA options failed us, causing disruption for several days. By having alumni email accounts in the main WPI tenant we also have the risk of exposing additional systems through compromised email accounts. Our goal is to continue to mitigate institutional risk by weighing benefits over the threats.

12. Why can't WPI accounts be allowed for a certain period, or only inactive accounts shut down?

70% of the alumni population in @alum.wpi.edu tenant were already forwarding their email to a different address before this change was announced. Unfortunately, since they are forwarding their email their account remains in an active state even though they are not logging in to keep it active. For this reason an automatic deletion rule for inactive accounts, such as anything not used in two years, does not work. Additionally, retaining accounts for a specified time period would necessitate maintaining two separate email tenants which poses greater risk to WPI account security.

13. When will forwarding be set for new alumni? 

Current Class of 2024 undergraduate and graduate students who are nearing graduation will be contacted with instructions to provide a forwarding email address using the WPI Hub My Commencement form (Actions) prior to graduation to facilitate their email transition on Feb. 1, 2025.

14. I am an international student and I need to keep my email address for OPT training. Is that allowed?

In order for WPI to comply with government regulations, international students will retain their @wpi.edu email address for four years past graduation.

15. I am a Ph.D graduate and I am continuing my research with WPI faculty. Several papers were published with my WPI email address. May I keep my email address for on going collaboration and research?

Yes, we will continue to allow you to use your name@wpi.edu address. You will be required to use approved multi-factor authentication methods to access your email.