BoxCo. suspends summer operations

Kelli Nguyen, Assistant Campus Editor

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Students will not be able to store their belongings through BoxCo. for the 2016 summer session, Northwestern Student Holdings announced Thursday.

BoxCo., an NSH-run summer storage and shipping service, launched in 2012 with a mission to create “simple, safe and affordable shipping and storage solutions” for Northwestern students. This summer, the group is suspending the service due to problems faced by the company during the summer, as well a shift in NSH’s focus, the group said.

Weinberg sophomore Ari Juster, vice president of marketing for NSH, said BoxCo. was a very logistical and resource-intensive company to run. A lack of staffing impacted BoxCo.’s ability to provide responsive customer service, and the company faced “internal and external” logistical issues that contributed to its suspension.

“From an NSH organizational standpoint, the operations needed to make BoxCo. successful were not congruous with the current structure of NSH,” Juster said. “We decided to, as an organization, reallocate our people (and) our logistical resources into efforts that we thought would be a more efficient use of those resources.”

CEO of NSH Katie Ostazeski, a SESP junior, said the company both benefited and suffered from its organizers being students. She said it was useful for students to build the operational model, but, when it came to finding enough employees, their capabilities fell short.

“Even though we’re good at sitting in a library and working through chemistry problems, most of us aren’t … box movers,” Ostazeski said.

In addition to logistical problems, a shift in NSH’s focus contributed to BoxCo.’s suspension, Juster said. Last year NSH cut nearly half of its businesses to focus on quality rather than quantity. In terminating BoxCo., the group is continuing that shift, moving away from logistical services to more “diverse” offerings, he said.

“BoxCo. was very much a central part of the identity of NSH,” Juster said. “Now we are in a very different place than we were a couple years ago.”

With the suspension of BoxCo., Residential Services will turn to University and Student Services, a private storage company, as its sole storage partner, said Paul Riel, executive director of Residential Services. USS already provided summer storage alongside BoxCo. but will now become NU’s primary storage vendor, he said.

USS functions similarly to BoxCo., storing items in an off-site warehouse over the summer and delivering them to students at the beginning of the academic year. The company offers summer storage as well as ship-to-your-room services.

Although BoxCo. will not offer its services this summer, students still have options, Riel said.

“I hope it’s seamless to students (and) that there’s not interruption of service,” he said. “Our communication plan to students will be the same, letting them know that we have a preferred vendor now with USS. They’re the group that can handle it. I don’t anticipate it disrupting students at all.”

Email: kellinguyen2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @kellipnguyen

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