Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Students Give Some Mail Services Stamp of Disapproval

by Christina London

200,000. That’s how many pieces of mail the Athens Post Office processes each day. Postal workers ship a large percentage of this to the Ohio University residence halls.

The mail system became a little more complicated last April. In wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, officials at OU decided to lock the residence halls during the day. While this precaution kept intruders out of the dorms, it also locked out mail carriers.

Postal clerk Tracey Cassels explains the journey your mail takes before it gets to you.

Headaches for RAs and Students
Packages sent viathe US Postal Service were previously delivered directly to each residence hall. Now, they are shipped in bulk to the three green offices. This means more responsibility for Resident Assistants, and an extra $7,000 expense for Residence Life. The RAs are now broken up into "mail teams", small groups who sort and retrieve packages each afternoon.

Although RAs are putting in more hours, Voigt Hall Administrative Resident Assisant Jenna Hazelton says she hasn't heard many complaints. "It gets us the mail, and that's all that's important," Hazelton says.

All of the students we talked to say they've had at least some type of problem with getting mail. However, their issues aren't with the US Postal Service. Students complained about RA office hours. Currently, they can only pick up packages between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., which many students say doesn't fit into their schedules.

Also students are concerned about the security of packages that do get delivered to the dorms. UPS and Fed Ex still deliver inside the dorms, but students say delivery men will just leave their packages on their doorsteps if they aren't home. They say the convenience isn't worth the risk of theft.

OU students sound off on the mail system.

Tips for Speedy Snail Mail
While mail services may need to work out some kinks, there are ways to make mailing go as smoothly as possible. Postal clerk Tracey Cassels recommends having your package taped up and ready to go before you arrive at the post office. This way, you can avoid the wait and keep the lines moving. But if in doubt, Cassels says postal workers are happy to help.

"If they [students] have any questions, they can just holler at one of us, and we'll say, 'Hey. You need this,'" she says.

Parents sending mail to their student can also help ease the process. When using Express Mail, Cassels encourages parents to wave the signature. That way, the parcel goes to the dorms. Otherwise, students must come to the Baker University Center to sign for it.

"That eliminates the middle man," Cassels says. "Don't let the poor student wait in line to get their package."

Director of Residence Life Judy Piercy says she hopes to have all US mail coming into the dorms by Fall 2008.

Additional Resources
Residence Hall Mailing Addresses
Print a Shipping Label

No comments: