The days of watching first-years struggle to lug refrigerators, microwaves and shelves from West to East Campus are over — for a short time at least.
Duke Campus Mail Services has implemented a temporary package pickup center on East Campus. It resided in the Crowell building during move-in but has since moved to the former location of the convenience store on the side of Brown dorm. The depot is open from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on weekdays.
Last year, many first-years encountered issues while picking up their packages. Not only did they need to transport their items via the C1 from West to East Campus, the lines were extremely lengthy and one student even fainted.
According to Postmaster Edward De La Garza, Campus Mail Services reviewed and evaluated potential changes to the package pickup system “to make it more efficient.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Campus Mail Services took on an additional 30 percent of volume from private carriers who could no longer deliver directly to dorm rooms.
The first few months of school are the busiest for the Campus Mail Services, who usually deal with over 50,000 packages in that time. “We had one student that had 33 packages,” De La Garza added.
The package center on East Campus was temporarily established to streamline and improve the turnaround time. Additionally, Campus Mail Services hired temporary staff and has been utilizing a student-worker program.
De La Garza is hopeful to establish a permanent package center on East Campus to serve first-years, resident assistants, and faculty and staff. According to De La Garza, “it’s hard to get space at Duke, and space is a premium.”
First-year Larkin Woodard expressed her satisfaction with the current package pick-up process, expressing how convenient it was to pick up her packages.
Sophomore Asher Wallen expressed his jealousy of the new system.
“Honestly, it would have been really nice if we’d been able to just get packages on East,” Wallen said.
The new package center is considered a success by Campus Mail Services, but there are some students who have encountered problems.
First-year Nina Ganeshan was excited about the idea of a package center on East Campus because she “heard the horror stories of people last year going all the way to West.” However, she said she received a misleading email that her package was ready.
De La Garza emphasized his uncertainty and lack of control regarding the future of the East Campus package center, which is expected to turn into an allergen-free venue per Duke Dining.
However, after the East Campus package center is gone, the Amazon locker pilot program will continue and become the major source of packages for first-years.
“I do not know when they [Student Affairs] are going to kick me out,” De La Garza joked. “I don't know how long they're gonna allow me to stay there, but I'm gonna try to stay there as long as I can because it's really working.”
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