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Letters From Feridun

Our university president Feridun Hamdullahpur seems to send a lot of emails. But does he really send that much?

That was a question that came to my mind one day as I was taking the bus home from work. So being the curious individual that I am, I decided to set out and answer that question.

I wrote up a Python script that connected to the IMAP MailServices server, and downloaded all the messages that were from the president's office. Then I began playing around with a small visualization I whipped up using d3.js, that plots each email on a timeline, starting from when I began school at the University of Waterloo in Fall 2014.

Letters from Feridun timeline

A couple things stand out.

  1. He sends an email every year inviting students to the Remembrance Day memorial ceremonies (2014, 2015, 2016).
  2. He sends an email every year inviting students to the President's Town Hall (2014, 2015, 2016)
  3. He is the most active in the Fall term (22 emails), followed by the Winter term (12 emails) and finally the Spring term (5 emails)
  4. The shortest time between two emails was just under 4 hours (14254000ms between Waterloo's response to the Syrian refugee crisis and Remembrance ceremony at the University of Waterloo). The time difference is so small that in the visualization, it appears as one dot.

You can explore the interactive visualization for yourself. The source can be found on my GitHub.

Note: My criteria for whether a message was from Feridun consisted of the following:

  1. The message is from the President's Office
  2. The message is signed by Feridun Hamdullahpur (either at the end of the message body, or within the template header)