Packages at the postal office. Madeleine Miller | Courtesy

Last year, stu­dents hoping to find mis­placed packages often went to the postal center when their mail didn’t arrive in the Grewcock mailroom. But the postal center did not receive or process student packages, and was unable to help stu­dents find them. 

“We were like a third party trying to run inter­vention,” said Deborah Holmes-Johnson, copy center & postal center manager.

During the summer, Holmes-Johnson and Director of Student Pro­grams Ashlyn Neveau dis­cussed improve­ments to student package pro­cessing, and con­sidered installing student package lockers and setting up a parcel tracking system for stu­dents.

Upon Holmes-Johnson’s sug­gestion, they decided to move the mailroom to Moss Hall, as the postal center boasts a loading dock, space to store packages, scanning equipment, and a full-time staff. 

“We felt that we could make the system more effi­cient by using the tech­nology we have available in the Moss Hall postal center,” Holmes-Johnson said. 

Student packages are now received at the Moss Hall loading dock and then scanned and sorted by postal center workers. Stu­dents are notified within 24 hours of their packages’ arrival, and must present iden­ti­fi­cation to retrieve their packages.

By scanning packages upon receipt and release and requiring stu­dents to show iden­ti­fi­cation for pick-up, postal center staff knows when packages arrive and are picked up, ensuring they are picked up by the correct recipient. This system enforces the college’s account­ability and enables the postal center to work with the post office to locate packages lost in transit.

“It’s a more con­sistent way to receive packages. Before, with so many stu­dents working at the mailroom, there were too many hands in the process. This is a sim­pli­fi­cation,” said Neveau. 

Despite the sharp increase in package volume at the beginning of the semester, postal center staff adjusted to their new respon­si­bil­ities suc­cess­fully. The Campus Mailroom has processed 4,000 packages in the past two weeks, so far with not one report of a mis­placed parcel.

Sophomore Maya Kani­aupio has worked at the postal center since the winter of 2018 and said the new system has been easy to adjust to for both staff and stu­dents. 

“Some stu­dents are curious about the change, but mostly they’re just happy to get their packages,” she said.

Holmes-Johnson said she is pleased that the postal center has improved the reli­a­bility of Hillsdale College’s Campus Mailroom.  

“We’re hoping this will end the frus­tration of lost packages for stu­dents,” she said.