UIS Email Footprint Challenge

Information Technology Services (ITS) is challenging UIS faculty and staff to a friendly competition to see who can create the smallest email footprint by clearing out old messages. During the month of February, we are asking everyone to spend a little time deleting any unnecessary messages including those in Sent and Deleted folders.

There are many ways to win!

  • Anyone who has a mailbox under 600MB on February 27 will be entered into a drawing for a $5 gift certificate to Capitol Perks provided by ITS. Ten names will be drawn.
  • Anyone who deletes more than 1GB will receive a $15 gift certificate to Capitol Perks provided by ITS.
  • The three individuals that reduce their email footprint the most will receive a $10 gift certificate to Capitol Perks provided by ITS.

We will announce the progress of the Email Footprint Challenge through Campus Announcements on Friday mornings.


Dates: February 2-27, 2015
Eligibility: UIS faculty and staff campus email accounts
Footprint: Mailbox size on campus email server
Winners determined by percentage of change in mailbox size, mailbox size under 600MB, mailbox size decrease of over 1 GB
Questions about what to delete: Contact RIMS
Questions about the Challenge: ITS@uis.edu


The Email Footprint Challenge can help you eliminate unnecessary messages, organize your mailbox, reduce search time, locate messages faster, and save space. And, of course, the winners get bragging rights and coveted awards for a truly skinny digital footprint!

Important Dates

  • Monday, February 2: Kick-off
  • Progress updates will be sent via Campus Announcements every Friday
  • Hands-on workshops with tips for cleaning your mailbox, held in BRK 141B
    • February 10 from 9:30am-10am
    • February 17 from 11am-11:30am
  • Friday, February 27: Final progress update
  • Monday, March 2: Results announced and winners contacted

Tips & Tricks

Whether you’re looking for a long-term strategy or just hoping to get an edge in the competition, try these tried and true tips to manage an unruly Inbox.


  1. Be sure to regularly empty your Deleted Items folder [PDF].
  2. Use Outlook to¬†check your mailbox size [PDF] and focus on the largest ones first. Don’t forget about the Sent Items folder.
  3. Sort your messages by size [PDF] to find the largest ones.
  4. Remove unnecessary attachments [PDF] if you can’t get rid of the entire message.
  5. Request approval to dispose of any State Records.


  1. Keep your Inbox clean. Only keep messages in the Inbox that you will refer to within the next day or two. Move reference messages to a subfolder. Flag messages [PDF] that require follow-up and then move them to a subfolder.
  2. Limit the number of folders. Save time organizing by grouping messages into a handful of folders based on a desired attribute – urgency, length to keep, etc – and use the Search Tools [PDF] to find specific messages by keyword, sender, subject, date, etc.
  3. Create rules [PDF] to move lower priority messages such as newsletters out of your Inbox for later review.


  1. Unsubscribe from unnecessary bulk email where possible. Delete messages you don’t need immediately.
  2. Rather than sending an attachment, use Box to share the file.
  3. Advanced: Enable AutoArchive to set the default to permanently delete old items after 60 months. You can then customize this setting for specific folders if desired.
  4. Advanced: Clean up redundant messages [PDF].