UPS pickup returns to J. Walter Wilson

Contributing Writer
Friday, October 8, 2010

UPS package pickup officially opened Monday in the post office in J. Walter Wilson. Since the start of the school year, UPS pickup had been at Graduate Center on Power Street.

The switch is based on an arrangement that dates back to 2001, when the University began handling student UPS deliveries, said Manager of University Mail Services Fred Yattaw.

“We don’t have enough space in here to accept the kinds of volumes of packages that we get in September, when students move back to campus,” Yattaw said.

For about the first month of the school year, the University keeps UPS pickup at a location separate from other mail. UPS pickup has been located at Grad Center for the last five or six years, with previous locations on Thayer and Olive streets, Yattaw said.

UPS pickup returns to J. Walter Wilson when delivery volume decreases, usually after students finish sending in “personal belongings and all the textbooks,” Yattaw said.

Mail Services handled about 30,000 total packages from Aug. 20 to Oct. 1, with about 9,000 from UPS.

Yattaw said moving back to J. Walter Wilson would ultimately be more efficient.

“I can’t operate two different operations with the staff that we have,” he said.

Yattaw also said that J. Walter Wilson is more of a central location, making it a more suitable pickup station than Grad Center.

Adela Wu ’13, who lives in New Pembroke Hall, said she thought J. Walter Wilson was a better location for package pickup.

Last year, when Wu received packages at Grad Center, she remembered having to ask for directions, as the location was “hard to find” and “kind of sketchy.”

Mail Services started delivering UPS packages to J. Walter Wilson on Sept. 29 — half a week before the Grad Center location closed down. Packages from Grad Center that had not been picked up were sent to J. Walter Wilson.

Yattaw said packages normally get returned to sender after about a month, when students have received at least two e-mails and a mailbox notice. Perishable items may be sent back earlier.

To maintain both mail stations, Yattaw sent part of the Mail Services staff to Grad Center and hired a few “miscellaneous people” for the month, he said. Mail Services also rented a van for the month to deliver packages to dorms if they were “really large or heavy,” or if a student received multiple packages.

This year, Mail Services hired four extra employees: one to work at the Grad Center UPS pickup, and the other three at J. Walter Wilson.

Though UPS delivery picks up in February, a spike Yattaw attributed to students returning from winter break, combined with Valentine’s Day, Mail Services will not return to the Grad Center for the rest of the school year.

“The spike period isn’t as long, and it doesn’t involve the same high volumes as it does in September,” Yattaw said. “We work as usual — January and February we do get a little busier — but we don’t do anything special except we have to work a little harder. I do bring on a couple of extra people just to get us through that spike, but it’s for a shorter period of time.”

Yattaw said Grad Center is probably the best place for the UPS pickup at the beginning of the year.

“We want street level access to unload the UPS trucks and whatever, and also for students to take packages out,” Yattaw said.

“We also loan out hand trucks to students who want to use those to bring packages back to their dorm, so street level is very important. … It looks like Power Street is going to be the place, as far as I can tell.”

The space at Grad Center will now be used by Facilities Management for storage.

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