Students, Housing adapt to new package center

Oct. 22, 2010, 3:02 a.m.

The Roble Package Center, which opened this quarter to ease the burden on individual residences of processing students’ mail, is still ironing out inefficiencies and adapting to students’ needs. Meanwhile, Student Housing awaits the formal permitting and construction of the actual facility while the system operates out of trucks in a service lane behind Roble Hall.

Students, Housing adapt to new package center
A student searches for his mail at the back of two delivery trucks parked in a service lane behind Roble Hall. (KANOWAN KULALERT/The Stanford Daily)

Rodger Whitney, the executive director of Student Housing, said in an e-mail to The Daily that the permitting and construction were delayed because “other, more critical projects involving spaces needed to house students were prioritized higher.”

The package center processes mail from private carriers such as UPS and DHL. Students are instructed to list the address of the Stanford post office as well as their individual box numbers. The post office then sends private-carrier mail to the package center.

But many students have had little patience as the system finds its footing.

Daniela Urigwe ’13, who has used Roble Package Center multiple times, found that DHL was “not really on board with the system” yet. She says DHL did not know or was not told about the package center, so she had to drive to the company’s San Francisco office to retrieve her package.

The most common complaint by students has been the absence of or delay in notification of package arrivals. Pablo Lopez ’13, who received a printer at the package center, said he did not receive an e-mail notifying him of the package’s arrival. He walked over to Roble, where a center employee found his package.

“The people were friendly, but delivering things straight out of the back of trucks isn’t really ideal,” Lopez said.

Whitney acknowledged early problems with packages arriving at the correct location for pickup—the post office for packages sent via USPS, the FedEx store in Tresidder Union for FedEx deliveries and the package center for packages mailed by other private carriers—but said “educational publicity” seems to be “smoothing out” those issues.

On a recent day at the package center, which is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven students received their packages without a problem. At one point, the package center employee, who said she was instructed by Housing not to talk to The Daily, called a golf cart to deliver a student’s package to Mirrielees because the package was heavy and the student was on a bike.

What all of the students interviewed for this article agreed upon is that the security of packages has been increased under the new system. In the past, private carriers often left packages outside of residences, where they subsequently could be stolen. Residence staff would also raise eyebrows at package-delivery staff who would enter residences and walk the halls looking for the rooms to which mail was addressed.

Still, both students and Housing are adapting to the system and to the package center itself. Whitney said he anticipates construction of the actually facility “will be completed soon.”

“It’s rather skeletal,” Aditya Singh ’13 said of the center.”But it serves its purpose.”

“It didn’t seem very well-organized,” Lopez said of his visit. “But I think they’re doing the best they can.”

Devin Banerjee was president and editor in chief of Volume 236 of The Stanford Daily, serving from June 2009 to January 2010. He joined The Daily's staff in September 2007. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @devinbanerjee.

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