Updated campus mail services prove ineffective, many students say
University recently consolidated mailroom to Smart Lockers in Letts Hall
American University updated its campus mail services this semester, leaving many students who live on-campus struggling to get mail on time.
Mail Services has been relocated from the front desk of each residence hall to a central mailroom in Letts Hall Lower Level. The QTrak Smart Lockers were added in an effort to accommodate packages, according to the University’s Mail Services webpage. Students are emailed a four digit code to type into the smart lockers to receive their packages.
In previous years, “students had complained about the hours of operation and lines in the resident halls when picking up packages,” Senior Director of Dining & Auxiliary Services Ann Marie Powell said in an email to The Eagle.
“The University reviewed proposals from various vendors, and the idea to offer lockers offer a different level of accessibility for students,” Powell wrote.
For many, the changes of centralizing the mailroom and adding lockers have not helped. Maddie Gerber is a freshman in the School of Communication who said she no longer relies on campus Mail Services because of delays in the delivery system. Gerber now gets her mail at the FedEx on New Mexico Avenue.
Gerber teaches swim lessons and ordered a swimsuit from Amazon Prime to ensure fast shipping to campus to get her swimsuit for training. She received an email from Amazon confirming her package had been delivered to AU three days after she ordered, but said she did not get the email from Mail Services that her package was available for pickup from the QTrak Smart Lockers until about a week after her Amazon confirmation because packages had yet to be sorted into the locker bank.
“The system is just backed up and because of the lockers, you can’t just go and ask,” Gerber said.
Students who rely on AU’s mail system to get textbooks for classes said they felt frustrated when it came to getting their textbooks on time.
Julita Thanapalasingam, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, ordered a textbook she needed for class, but by the time she was able to pick it up from the locker, it was too late. The textbook was delivered on Sept. 7, according to Thanapalasingam’s Amazon account, but an email from AU stating that the book was ready for pickup was not sent until about Sept. 23.
“I waited to get my book but by the time I could pick my book up, I didn't need it for class and the book just sits in my drawer now, ” Thanapalasingam said.
Some students, on the other hand, find the mail system efficient and easy to use. Freshman Ian Davey said he is impressed by how fast mail gets to AU and the quality of the lockers.
Although Davey has had positive experiences, he said that the lack of communication can make it frustrating at times.
“It’s too bad the mailroom is only in one location and nobody communicated about how to use the mailroom or where to go,” Davey said.
Despite updates to Mail Services, long lines are a problem in the mailroom and postal workers are dealing with a hectic environment according to Gerber.
“The mailroom seems understaffed and everyone looks a little overwhelmed,” Gerber said.