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Mail Services has high hopes with new partnership, goals

An abrupt shift in delivery policy has forced Belmont Mail Services to delay organizational changes expected to start later this spring.

After the U.S. Postal Service stopped its service to on-campus apartments without notifying mail services, the department quickly implemented new policies to have the Office of Residence Life deliver mail to on-campus housing mailboxes.

“What we’re trying to do is collaborate more with different departments,” said Fred Puffenberger, senior director of auxiliary enterprises at Belmont.

The increase in mail from on-campus apartments also caused changes students will see later in 2013, including extended hours in the center and being able to pay with Bruin Bucks, said Puffenberger.

While Residence Life now plays a substantial role in mail services to help manage the increase, the sudden changemalso put more pressure on mail services, mail workers said. Mail staff members deliver mail and packages, and then Residence Life staff sort and put mail in individual boxes in every dorm.

“We just started getting mail for all the apartments on campus, so that added an extra 1,500 or so students. So we have more mail for them that we didn’t have before,” said mail center staff member Kelly Fadden.

Overall, mail services workers are optimistic that the collaboration with Residence Life has been successful. Mail services had “no negative feedback to this point,” said Puffenberger.

Some residence life workers, however, think more could be done to improve the new collaboration.

Sam Schneider, a Spiritual Life Assistant who delivers Hail Hall’s mail, said she’s experienced some inconsistency with mail services. The mail center gives an hour time period in which they are supposed to deliver mail but sometimes don’t deliver it until later.

“It’s hard to judge when they’ll actually make it here,” said Schneider. “It can be a little difficult if I’m pressed for time.”

Despite these minor issues, she still thought the process of getting mail to students has been improved.

“I think in the long run it’s better for the residents because generally I have the mail to them before the mail center would’ve had it to them,” said Schneider.

Once Mail Services finishes addressing current developments, they expect to implement more changes that will be in line with student demands.

Fadden, who interacts directly with students picking up packages, said common complaints are due to the center’s limited hours and inability to accept Bruin Bucks. Both are on Puffenberger’s agenda to change by next semester.

Though no specific plans exist, Puffenberger said there are also talks of an electronic service to notify students of packages as well as hopes for a new location.

He is more than willing to discuss to receive input about how his department could additionally improve.

“We are very open to suggestions of how we might be able to do things better,” he said.

– Megan Randolph

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