Students who have relied on the Fairfield University mailroom to receive important packages have recently been met with long lines and even multiple day delays when attempting to receive their package.
This has caused some students to be upset by the mail service, especially those whose packages have been delayed or those who have lost packages.
“I ordered a package and the tracking said that it was delivered on Friday, September 6th in the morning,” said Brigid Belger ‘22. “After waiting for a few days and still not getting an email I waited on the line for the mailroom again and showed the worker a tracking number from USPS, asking her to look for it, to which she instructed me to wait for a few more days and that they have never lost a package before. I waited a week and decided to wait on line at the mailroom on the 18th. Again they said that they have never lost a package, but this time they took down my tracking number and my phone number. The next day, I went back and the manager was very helpful and actually looked for the package with me. It turns out one of the workers put the package in the wrong mailbox. I was glad that the package was not a book or something that I urgently needed, but I had to stay on top of it in order for someone to help me look for it. I’m just glad it was finally located.”
This semester’s mailroom issues could be directly tied to the amount of packages that have been ordered by students.
“At this point in September, we have 5,000 more packages than we had for the whole month of September last year,” said Assistant Vice President of Administration and Student Affairs James Fitzpatrick in an interview on Wednesday, September 18. “In all honesty, the packages and the amount of packages have been astronomical, and I don’t think it’s something that’s going to ease up.”
Fitzpatrick says that the mailroom itself is not running slow, but that it simply cannot keep up with the amount of packages that students are ordering this semester. In fact, Fitzpatrick stated that the mailrooms new system is speeding along the process. The new system entails scanning packages when they arrive and students receiving emails that their package was on campus. Students would then present emails on their phones to the mailroom staff as opposed to showing a slip that is placed in their lockers.
“I don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t have that scanning system,” said Fitzpatrick. “If we didn’t have that scanning system I wouldn’t be talking to you right now, I’d be down there working in the mailroom.”
Fitzpatrick continued, “The problem was I could get you the information that we had scanned it in, but the sheer number of packages was overwhelming. We were probably running three days behind before we were able to get everything scanned.”
A temporary solution to this problem was opening on Saturday, September 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. However, Fitzpatrick stated that this was just a one-time deal.
When asked what could potentially be done to alleviate this problem for the long term, Fitzpatrick said, “We are looking into the possibility of working with Amazon and working with another firm to set up lockers where the mailroom could put [packages] in, you would get a notification and you could come any time to pick up the package. We are looking at some sort of locker system as early as the spring semester.”
With the big rush of students getting their textbooks and getting settled into their new living situations mostly in the past, the lines at the mailroom have begun to dwindle down and operations appear to be running more smoothly. However, the University will certainly have to account for future semesters as more and more students order packages from Amazon.