Res Services looks to open mailroom ‘satellite location’

Jeanne Kuang, Assistant City Editor

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Residential Services is considering options to open an additional mailroom Winter Quarter for residents living on North Campus, executive director Paul Riel said Wednesday.

At a forum held at Slivka Residential College, Riel said he is looking for a room in a North Campus residence that can hold packages for all students living in the area. The potential spot would shorten the walking distance for many students seeking to pick up their packages.

“We have every intention of making changes Winter Quarter,” Riel told The Daily. “If we can find a location that we believe would serve the purposes of it, then absolutely we would want to do it.”

Currently, all students must retrieve their packages at the centralized mailroom in Foster-Walker Complex that was opened this academic year. In previous years, packages were delivered to mailrooms in six different residence halls across campus.

At the forum, Riel explained the conditions for a satellite mailroom, which he described as a real estate problem. The room would need to be currently unused, large enough to hold all of North Campus’ packages and accessible to every resident.

“I’m not a big fan of taking over public spaces,” he said, when students suggested using lounges or large rooms in residence halls. He added that Residential Services is considering Kemper Hall, which housed a mailroom last year and currently runs a 24-hour neighborhood desk.

Associated Student Government has also been working to come up with solutions.

“At this point, it’s a lot of information gathering,” said Anna Kottenstette, student life vice president. “We’re just looking to see what other schools have done.”

Kottenstette, a Communication senior, said ASG has worked with Riel to accommodate students with injuries or disabilities who have difficulties going to Foster-Walker for their packages. She also said she updates Riel about student concerns.

Riel cited a lack of accountability as reason for replacing last academic year’s decentralized system with the Foster-Walker mailroom, which includes an electronic scanning system that logs packages when they are received and picked up. Without the tracking system, he said, students sometimes did not receive packages or were not notified of their arrival.

“We had six satellite desks last year, and what we’re doing now is we’re tracking the packages. That system didn’t exist last year,” he said at the forum. “We’ve got to touch that package before it gets to you somehow.”

However, many students have complained that the single Foster-Walker mailroom has resulted in long walks and, at the beginning of the quarter, lengthy wait times to retrieve packages.

Dan Weinberg, a Weinberg sophomore who lives in Bobb Hall, said going to Foster-Walker is “really out of the way.” Last academic year, Weinberg got his packages at the mailroom in Bobb’s basement, just downstairs from where he lived.

“The biggest problem is definitely the walking time,” he said of the centralized mailroom, adding that borrowing and returning a cart from Foster-Walker to transport large packages contributes to the inconvenience.

Weinberg sophomore Michael Hill, internal affairs chair for Ayers College of Commerce and Industry, said he often orders items online for the residential college, a “pretty big inconvenience” when he has to carry boxes up Sheridan Road.

Hill said he would “really appreciate” having a mailroom closer to CCI.

Although he prefers to use the old mailroom in Bobb, Weinberg said “obviously compared to Plex, a place up north is great.”

“We haven’t even hit winter yet,” he said.

Twitter: @jeannekuang