University saves estimated $16,000 with mailroom budget cut

By Tierra Carpenter, @TierraMC_

University Housing will save more than $15,000 this semester after it closed the package pickup window in the Grinnell Hall mailroom.

Crystal Bouhl, assistant director of marketing for University Housing, explained the decision.  

“It’s absolutely based on student employee hours,” she said. “You had two mailrooms that were staffed to handout packages and now there’s one mailroom staffed. … When they made that decision, they did a cost-benefit analysis based on the number of hours worked in each area and they came up with a $16,000 savings.”

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Before Jan. 19, the mailroom serviced package pickup and mailboxes for residents of Schneider Hall and Mae Smith Hall. While students’ mailboxes remain in use, their packages must now be picked up at Trueblood Hall’s mailroom. 

Bouhl said the changes should not be an inconvenience for students.

“Students eat in Trueblood Hall daily and will be able to pick up their packages in the same building,” she said. 

But at least two students in Mae Smith Hall and Schneider Hall have noticed a difference.

Liana Spokas, a freshman from Antioch studying psychology, said she would prefer if the Grinnell pickup window was still open.

“My mailbox is in [Grinnell], and I’m [in] the farthest tower away from Trueblood, so if I need a package it’s kind of inconvenient to come all the way here,” said Spokas, who lives in Schneider Hall. “I was a little disappointed that they closed Grinnell.”

Arianna Williams, a freshman from Chicago studying business, said she has picked up packages on three different occasions this semester and has experienced longer lines and slower service.

“It’s so many people from all three buildings that are waiting to get packages that it just takes so long,” she said.

Williams, who lives in Mae Smith Hall, said she avoids long lines by visiting the mailroom later in the day.

Mason Combs, a junior from Danville studying aviation technology, works in the mailroom. He said the mailroom has not become less efficient with the closure because now at least two or three people work in the mailroom simultaneously as opposed to one or two workers.

“The lines will get longer, but whenever they get longer we have more people working,” Combs said. “So we can have two people at the window checking out packages, so it goes down just as fast.” 

Combs said the closing of Grinnell’s pickup window has made his job easier. Previously the mailroom staff would have to go back and forth between Trueblood and Grinnell to clock in, change shifts and go to lunch.

“At first I was a little skeptical about it, but learning how to adapt to it, everything’s working really smoothly,” Combs said. “I’m definitely a fan of it.”

Tierra Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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