Email Overview and Access 

Effective June 1, 2021, Catholic Distance University began providing email accounts to all students enrolled in academic courses at CDU. CDU uses Gmail for our email platform. The creation of your account in Populi (the Student Information System), automatically triggers the creation of your CDU email account. An email is sent to you at your private email address on file with us notifying you of the account creation and email address.

To access Populi and your CDU email, we recommend using Google Chrome, but any modern browser supported by Google will work.

Who is eligible to receive a CDU Gmail account? 

Any student who is enrolled in academic courses at CDU is eligible to receive a CDU student email account.

How do I access my CDU Gmail account? 

There are two ways to get to your CDU email.

  1. After logging into Populi, use the Email link at the top of the home page. This will take you directly to your email. You may be prompted to authenticate via Populi first. This is the recommended method. If you have forgotten your Populi password, use the Forgot password link to reset your password.PS: You cannot be logged into your private Gmail account at the same time on that browser.
  2. Visit the Gmail sign-in page and enter your CDU email address. You will be taken to the Populi login page. Enter your Populi credentials and after you authenticate successfully, you will be redirected back to your CDU email.If you have forgotten your Populi password, use the Forgot password link to reset your password.

Forgotten Populi Password 

If you have forgotten your Populi password, Click the “Forgot Password” link on the Populi login page. Enter the private email address that is on file with us (that you used when you applied to CDU) and click Send. You will receive a password reset email at that email address.


Getting Started with GMail 

Google has provided some great tutorials to get started with using your account. While using Gmail, if you have any questions about a topic not included in this guide, be sure to click on the “?” Help link which will take you to Google’s extensive Help and Training Resources.

How do I make Gmail my default email application when clicking email links in a web browser?

Google provides instructions for setting Gmail as your default email application.

What is my CDU GMail quota? 

At this point in time there is no imposed quota.

Why don’t I get copies of messages I send myself? 

To prevent clutter, Gmail doesn’t route messages that you copy yourself on to your inbox. More information can be found here.

I found out I was sent a message, but cannot see it in my Inbox: where else could it be? 

Be sure to check your Spam folder in cases like this. Occasionally, authentic messages sent by the university may end up in your Spam folder. To find the Spam folder, click the “More” button on the left side of the mailbox. Doing so will open a dropdown menu containing the Spam folder. It is important to check this folder periodically to see if important messages have landed there. To ensure messages from university senders no longer go to this folder, add the sender’s email address to your contact list.

General Security Information 

Google has provided some excellent tips on securing your email account.

Mail Settings 

As with most Google products, there are a myriad of settings that you can use to customize Gmail and make reading and managing your email more efficient. We have highlighted a few of CDU Student Email (Gmail) Guide the more commonly used settings below. To change your mail settings, click on the Settings link (denoted by a gear icon) in the upper right hand corner. Gmail pops up a sidebar with commonly changed settings. Other settings are available by selecting See all settings. We encourage you to explore all the available settings and customize your Gmail so it works best for you. Below are a few that we’ve found helpful.

Add or Remove Inbox Category Tabs 

By default, when your email account is created, you may see your email organized by Categories. Get rid of the Social and Promotions categories by following these steps:

1. Click on the Gear icon and then select See all settings.
2. Click the Inbox tab.
3. Uncheck the category or categories you would like disabled.
4. Click Save changes at the bottom of the page

How you read your email – Conversation View 

The Conversation view is turned on by default. It groups all replies with the original message, creating what is referred to as a “single conversation” or “thread.” A conversation is a collection of all messages that have the same Subject.

Signature file to identify you 

We recommend you enter a signature that identifies you and provides other contact information as desired.

Create a Gmail signature.

Receiving desktop notifications 

When enabled, it gives you a pop-up bubble on your desktop when a new email arrives.

Gmail notifications

Use Labels for organizing

Labels are similar to folders, except that they do so much more. You can apply more than one label to a message (i.e., “file” the message in more than one “folder”), view all messages with a given label, “move” messages to a label so they no longer appear in your Inbox, and search within a label.

For more information, see Organize your Gmail inbox using labels.

Auto-Forward Emails to a Personal Account 

Students may auto-forward email to an outside email client at their own risk. Failure to check for messages and failure to receive messages due to full mailboxes or auto-forwarded email are not acceptable excuses for missing official University communications. The university IT staff does not support auto-forwarding of email and are unable to assist in troubleshooting problems with outside email clients or forwarded email.