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Mailroom to be back on track soon

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

While many students have received late packages and had to wait in long lines to trade in their blue slips recently, the mail room expects to be caught up on orders by Wednesday.

“Currently, the mail services staff is processing the packages delivered on Saturday and this morning, and expects to be completely back on track by Wednesday of this week,” said Elizabeth Gentry, assistant vice president of financial and administrative services, which oversees mailservices.

Regular mail continues to be sorted and placed in mailboxes as it arrives, but the processing of packages – including the recording and writing of mailbox notifications – has been delayed because of the move across the street, Gentry said.

“The complications of the move so close to the start of the semester and the ongoing construction added a dimension of complexity that was not well understood initially,” Gentry wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “This made establishing a smooth processing system in a new physical environment that much more complicated.”

Five temporary mail clerks and a student worker have been hired, while a staffer from Gentry’s office was relocated temporarily to aid the usual 16-person mail room staff, which has logged overtime to address the problem, Gentry said.

There are about 5,800 student mailboxes and another 500 faculty and administration boxes currently in use.

Maribel Oliveras, office assistant to the literary arts pProgram, is in charge of picking up and dropping off all mail items for the program’s mailbox.

“We usually just get letters, but we’ve had no trouble with package deliveries so far,” Oliveras said.

But Meleha Ahmad ’11, who ordered four posters online three weeks ago, did not receive her package until Monday morning.

“Oh, my God. This is the fourth time I’ve come here to get this,” Ahmad said. “They kept telling me they couldn’t find it.”

Like Ahmad, the girl behind her in line was also told to come back later in the day to pick up a package that apparently had not yet been sorted. But others have had better luck.

Alejandra Ceja ’12 said she only had to wait about five to 10 minutes in line to pick up her package – books she ordered online about two weeks ago.

“This line usually takes longer than the yellow slip line for some reason,” she said, referring to the window that provides deliveries from shipping companies like United Parcel Service and Federal Express.

Scotty Carroll ’11 started at the back of the line Monday at noon and also only had to wait 10 minutes for his package delivery.

Carroll said he didn’t mind the wait because it gave him time to take in his surroundings.

“Having everything in one building like this is convenient, but it reminds me a lot of a state university,” Carroll said. “One of the reasons I came to Brown was because of its old-school feel, which is something the old mailboxes really captured.”

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