Alana George, Campus Carrier Copy Editor
On Aug. 1, the Berry post office introduced a virtual mailbox system, which promises to improve efficiency for both students and post office workers.
According to Tammi Freeman, the manager of mail services, these virtual mailboxes will replace the physical boxes and keys, which can sometimes go unchecked for months on end.
“Our system is kind of like a medical filing system you might see in a doctor’s office,” Freeman said. “Each student has a folder with a barcode that has their name and box number. We still have to use the same P.O. box addressing system because that’s what’s in the postal service national database, so it needs that P.O. number to get it here.”
Freeman said that when a student receives a piece of mail, she or one of her student workers will scan the barcode on their folder, which will automatically send a notification email to the student that they have mail to pick up. The student will then bring their student ID card to the front window, where it will be scanned and the student will receive their mail.
If this sounds similar to the current process for picking up packages, that’s because it is; Freeman said that this new system is in fact an extension of the package pick-up system.
“We have it separated; you still pick up your packages with a separate email at the back window and you get a new email that says you have mail and you pick it up at the front counter,” Freeman said. “We want to keep the two operations separate. We don’t want someone who’s just trying to pick up a piece of mail to have to wait in the package line.”
Freeman said this update was made to increase workflow efficiency for her and her workers, as well as lay the groundwork for future updates. These updates include removing the physical boxes and installing parcel lockers for packages. Students will access their package from a kiosk with the locker number and a one-time access code. This construction is set to be completed before the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Last year alone, couriers brought 59,000 packages onto campus. So, the student workers in the post office are excited about the efficiency this new system will bring. Senior Hannah Lambert, level 4 student supervisor, has worked in the post office for all four of her years at Berry. Lambert said that since the steps are the same for packages, learning the new system came naturally to her.
“I like it. I think it’s easy, and especially for what they want to do in the future in the post office, I think it’s a greater benefit for everyone involved,” Lambert said.
Lambert also appreciates the increased interaction with students coming to get their mail at the front window and she likes being able to help people more.
Another student supervisor, senior Emmi Losasso, is excited about the time-saving aspect of the new system, as it will enable the workers to do more of their job in less time. She has enjoyed seeing this initiative come to fruition as she begins her last year at Berry.
“It’s kind of nice to have a little bit of a difference in my last year to get me more excited again,” Lossasso said. “Every year we’ve done new things so I’ve seen this become the capstone of everything that’s been going on since I started working here. It’s nice to be able to see this in my last year and know that it’s going to be better for the students when I leave.”
Upon returning to campus, current students need to return their P.O. box keys at one of the key return boxes, located at both of the post office windows. If students have any more questions about the new system, refer to the email Freeman sent over the summer with details for incoming and returning students.