Mail Center relocates to the warehouse to ensure social distancing

By Emily Hogan

The Mail Center has been operating out of a warehouse behind McCullough and adjusting to stay safe for students. (Van Barth)

Like nearly all campus operations, the process for picking up packages from the mail center this year has been altered to comply with social distancing protocols. This fall, the pick-up location was moved entirely to the warehouse, although envelopes and small packages can still be retrieved from students’ mailboxes in McCullough Student Center. 

In a normal year, package pick-up would be split between the warehouse and the mail center in McCullough during the beginning months of the academic year. The typical system for package pick-up in the McCullough mail center did not allow for proper social distancing, according to Jacki Galenkamp, the mail center supervisor. Students usually form a line that extends from the pick-up window and runs parallel to the wall of mailboxes. 

“If you were to have to do that six feet apart, it could definitely be problematic,” Galenkamp said. 

Moving package pick-up to the warehouse allows for proper social distancing outside. 

At the beginning of every academic year, the mail center receives a high volume of packages as students order dorm room and school supplies. Last year, the mail center received about 30,000 packages in the first two months of school, according to Galenkamp.

“The warehouse is [normally] open for about the first month of school, because we get between 1,000 and 1,500 packages a day and a lot of those are large items,” Galenkamp said.  

But this year, the mail center has been receiving fewer packages than other years, possibly because of the abbreviated in-person semester and instructions for students to pack lightly. 

The new package pick-up location has some benefits for the mail center staff and the package delivery staff. The loading dock, where packages are dropped off by mail carriers, is located near the warehouse, making transporting the packages easier. 

“To have all of the packages being processed in one space has definitely been a very positive thing because we don’t have to split our work,” Galenkamp said. 

Additionally, the warehouse is not near other sources of crowding. This is in contrast with the mail center, which is near the Grille, Crossroads and Midd Xpress. 

The transition to the warehouse has been smooth, according to Katie Wilmore ’23, a student worker at the mail center. “We are essentially doing the same thing but in a bigger space,” Wilmore said. 

Eventually, package pick-up may have to move back inside McCullough since the warehouse does not have insulation for the colder months. 

”We had a couple of days when it was frozen overnight, where we had some issues with the computers,” Galenkamp said. As the weather turns colder, Galenkamp is hopeful that adjustments can be made to keep computers in the warehouse running so the mail center staff can continue to operate from the warehouse.

“Our number one priority is to be safe and to get everything done in a timely manner,” Galenkamp said. “We thought we were gonna be moving back [to McCullough], but if the weather holds, there’s no reason that we have to, so, we’ll see.”