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Campus assigned mailing addresses

The Perkins Library was recently assigned the mailing address of 411 Chapel Drive by Duke Postal Operations.
The Perkins Library was recently assigned the mailing address of 411 Chapel Drive by Duke Postal Operations.

Bid farewell to the days of inventing fake dorm addresses for those package deliveries.

Duke Postal Operations announced last week that it completed a project to give every building on campus an official mailing address. The new addresses can be found online at the campus map Web site.

“College campuses are funny places in the sense that if you look around them, not every building is on a street,” said Jeff Potter, Duke’s director of real estate administration.

Brodie Gym’s address is now 20 Brodie Gym Dr., and Edens Quadrangle building 1A is now 419 Towerview Dr., to name a couple.

The address changes will have a practical effect on students receiving packages sent from private couriers, like the United Parcel Service and FedEx. In the past, students often concocted addresses for themselves based on their dormitory and room number. Now, each Duke address will include the building’s physical address in addition to room numbers where applicable. There will be no change to mail sent through the United States Postal Service, which will continue to be delivered to students’ P.O. boxes, said DPO General Manager Michael Trogdon.

The project to give each building an address has been years in the making, Potter said. After an episode last August when a Durham 911 operator had difficulty finding the location of a local fire that ultimately killed an elderly man, the need to expedite the project became clear, Potter added.

Trogdon cautioned students and faculty not to use the new addresses for regular mail.

“If [USPS mail is] sent to us with a postal address it’s going to be delayed,” Trogdon said. “You need to make certain before you use just a street address that that is a package that is going to be delivered by some courier other than the U.S. Postal Service.”   

Many universities have never allowed the delivery of packages directly to student dormitories. At Vanderbilt University, for instance, all packages and parcels directed to students go to centralized locations.

Although most buildings on Vanderbilt’s campus have mailing addresses, none of them receive direct deliveries from the USPS, said Mickey Anglea, postmaster of Vanderbilt Mail Services.

“It’s basically taboo to address things to dormitories,” Anglea said. “We don’t have the resources there to check items in.”

He cited safety concerns as one reason why Vanderbilt prefers not to have parcels delivered directly, adding that Vanderbilt was the target of a mail bomb sent by the “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski in 1982.

Boston University’s Mail Services department, however, does not handle student mail—letters and packages are delivered directly to the residence halls, where they are sorted by staff from the housing and residential safety department.  

“All we do is we take care of the university’s business mail,” said Albano Lacerda, director of BU Mail Services.  

Lacerda added that the university implemented safety precautions including limiting individuals allowed to enter buildings and deliver packages in light of concerns about student safety.

Potter said Duke wanted to smooth the transition to the new address system, and maintained that the change was mostly grounded in concerns about safety and communications.

“In terms of mail there was no intention to make a change,” Potter said. “The idea was to keep [the change] as low-profile as possible.” 

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