You’ve got mail: Thoughts to improve campus mailing

Kyle King

It is a safe assumption that all of us have ordered something online or received some mail from parents during our time on campus. The trek we make to the basement of Sorenson Hall is quite daunting, and students with bulkier packages such as appliances struggle even more with navigating back to their dorms.

The mailing center’s hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. also force students to pick up mail at inopportune times and likely bring their mail to classes throughout the day. Not only would carrying more on their person be uncomfortable, but some might feel like they’re a distraction to their classmates bringing large boxes and packages to their classrooms. 

A practical solution would be to expand the hours and days that students can visit the mailing center. For example, the hours can extend to 5 p.m. to account for some late afternoon classes and the days can be extended to Saturday since that is also a mail delivery day. Then, students won’t have to wait out the entire weekend to get their hands on their packages. 

The location of the mailing center in Sorensen Hall is inconvenient for essentially every student on campus. It sits at the absolute corner of campus, and those living in upper campus areas like Westerlin and Erickson have to go from one corner of campus to another. Multiple options for mailing pickup would eliminate the hassle.

Even though mail used to be delivered to each building in the past, it is clear that the college has taken some initiative to solve the issue. In October 2021, Augie announced the implementation of an Amazon Locker near Erickson that is available 24 hours a day. The Locker serves as an alternative mailing option for students; however, that does not mean it is an absolute solution.

While it would be much more convenient for me to use the Amazon Locker with its proximity and pin numbers unique to customers, it has constraints on the weight and size of the mail that can fit into them. If someone needed a large appliance or piece of furniture, for instance, they would resort to the mailing center. Also, when weighing the options of delivery location, I believe that picking the Locker can mean waiting an extra day or so for your mail to arrive. 

Could we have more Amazon Lockers around campus? My instinct would answer in the negative. It would likely cost the college more money to institute more lockers on the outsides of residence halls, and the aforementioned cons of size restrictions and possible delayed deliveries would deter some from using them. 

Perhaps a more viable option would be to make room for another mailing center in the Gerber Center, the main hub of campus life and activity, so that passing students can retrieve mail as they see fit. The college would have to sacrifice, or pay for the construction of, space, and they would have to pay more employees to man it. This, however, could be an opportunity for more students to get involved with on-campus jobs as some rely on that income to pay for their college expenses.

While we all eagerly anticipate our deliveries, mailing will always serve as a noticeable inconvenience for the campus community, but how can and how will the college make it more convenient and accessible? How will it account for large, bulky packages that have to be dragged around, and how will it account for the large amount of distance that students have to cover? The Amazon Locker hints that Augie has considered the issue, but no further steps have been taken since.