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Stop junk mail with Catalog Choice

By Dena J. Smith | Emory Report | May 22, 2012

In an effort to decrease the amount of junk mail on campus, a partnership has been forged between Emory Mail Services and Ricoh, the company that operates mail services on behalf of the University and Emory Healthcare, to explore sustainable solutions that fit with the Emory culture.

The Emory-specific Catalog Choice program addresses those efforts. Catalog Choice is free and available to all students, faculty, staff and alumni and will help them establish their own, personalized junk mail policy. Through the service, users have total control and can determine what direct mail, catalogs and phone books they no longer want to receive at either work or home.

Catalog Choice is easy to use. Go to the website emory.catalogchoice.org and sign up. A free iPhone app allows users to opt out of mailings, and the ability to add multiple addresses and aliases allows users to extend the use of this service to their entire family.

"We wanted to make a meaningful difference, reducing the amount of direct mail produced by mailers and stopping it before it ever reached Emory," says Paul Byrnes, director of Emory Business Services. "It was also important to have a flexible policy that can meet everybody’s needs. We knew that we did not want to establish a one-size-fits-all policy – what’s junk mail to one person is useful to another – and we didn’t feel that would be productive." 

According to Byrnes, Emory is the first University to have its own dedicated Catalog Choice site. Registering with an emory.edu or emoryhealthcare.org email address allows faculty, staff and students to receive, for free, Catalog Choice’s MailStop Shield service, which prevents data brokers from selling a user’s identity. It takes a few months before opting out requests take effect.

Emory Business Services has spearheaded other initiatives to reduce junk mail such as the Ecological Mail Coalition, responsible for removing the names of more than 50,000 former students, faculty and staff from direct mailer lists, therefore reducing the amount of unwanted mail Emory receives.