Mailing Center recovering from package influx

Olivia Higgins|Staff Photographer
A sign directs toward Rockwell Hall, where for the entirety of the spring semester, the Student Mail Center has been placed in the basement. The Towers location has been closed as it was not large enough to handle the increase of packages this year.

Gabriella DiPietro | Staff Writer

02/15/18

As more students order their textbooks and shop online nationally, the Student Mail Center (SMC) has struggled to keep up with the consistently growing demand for package delivery.

This has lead to the SMC being moved to Rockwell Hall for much of the semester, although it will return to Towers after Spring Break.

Merlyn Reuss, a third-year information systems management student who has worked at the mail center since her freshman year, helped to scan packages from carriers, organize them and make sure they get to the correct students.

She explained why the SMC moved to Rockwell in the first place, attributing it to the sheer volume of packages being delivered.

“With the increase in popularity of online shopping, the Student Mail Center location in Towers was simply not large enough to house the volume of packages we were receiving daily,” Reuss said. “Rockwell is around four times the size of the Student Mail Center, and we are still lining the walls with packages.”

The manager of university materials and fleet services at Duquesne, Ed Bayer, described this influx of packages on campus, especially during this time of year.

“Package volume handling on campus quadrupled through the 2016-2017 academic year and is expected to continue to grow through the 2017-2018 academic year,” Bayer said. “The volume of incoming packages expectedly increases at the beginning of the spring semester and for the Valentine’s Day holiday.”

At the beginning of the spring semester, the SMC in Towers was relocated to the Rockwell Hall basement. Rockwell houses the university’s main mailing center where all incoming mail, including student mail and departmental mail, is delivered to multiple times a day, sorted, processed and then distributed to the proper buildings and delivery locations on campus.

This seasonal flood of packages resulted in the temporary relocation of the SMC.

When asked about the reopening of the Towers location, Bayer revealed the university’s plans regarding the original SMC.

“We anticipate the SMC in Towers to return to its normal operation on Monday, March 12, with plans to transition the packages from the Rockwell Hall mailroom during Spring Break,” Bayer said.

The SMC in Towers had a metering machine so students were able to send outgoing packages with postage, but the temporary location does not include that feature.

Now, in order to send packages, students must go to a nearby post office, such as the one located on Fifth Avenue. Students may only drop off packages at Rockwell if they are prepaid, but people can drop off smaller letters in any mailbox on campus to be sent out.

The Mail Center also allows students to send someone else to pick up their packages if needed. To do this, students must call the SMC ahead of time to inform them of their designated representative.

Bayer highlighted the ways that this relocation of the SMC has altered the mail system that students are familiar with.

“During this process, mailbox and letter service in the Towers’ SMC has remained unchanged, but parcel volume still exceeds available space there and is anticipated to do so through Valentine’s Day,” Bayer said. “Sorting and distribution in the Rockwell Hall mailroom has enabled us to speed up the process of making student packages available for same-day pick up.”

For now, students will have to endure the extra time it takes to go retrieve their packages, but the Towers’ SMC will be returning soon.

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