Marist Post Office Plans to Combat Long Lines

By Caroline Chan

If you’ve gotten a package from the post office this school year, you’ve probably noticed that the system has changed—you now use your student ID card to swipe in and get your packages. However, these recent changes are just the beginning—there are more to come.

In mid-August, the Marist post office implemented a system where students come in and swipe their card, the post office workers read the package information off the computer screen and then they get the student’s package(s) from the back.

This is a change from the old system, where students would go to the counter and tell the employee their mailbox number.

The new sign at the post office indicates that students should have their student ID ready when coming to pick up packages. SOURCE: CAROLINE CHAN

The new sign at the post office indicates that students should have their student ID ready when coming to pick up packages. SOURCE: CAROLINE CHAN

“The software we were using for the last eight to nine years just wasn’t keeping up with the times,” Raymond Lane, the manager of postal services, said. “So, we had to make a change.”

Tom Quinn ‘18, a business marketing major who works at the post office, loves the new system. “I got very used to the old system and it got very slow,” Quinn said.

“We also wanted to grow in different ways and the software we had didn’t have any growth abilities,” Lane said. “Plus, we’re always looking to improve our services, because the student is our prime customer...We’re trying to take steps to make the process better for the student.”

The new system leads to a “lot less error in communication,” Quinn said. Before the change, 30 percent of the time there was an issue where the student would think they had a package at the post office and they didn’t, or they would think that they had more packages at the post office than they actually had.

“We are getting more accurate information as far as what is actually on site for the student to pick up,” Lane said, regarding both if the student does have any packages at the post office in the first place, or if they do, how many they have.

While he does think the new system is working effectively, he also understands the frustration from the students about the long lines.

When the system was first introduced during the summer, there were fewer students on campus and they had positive responses to it. However, now that the school year has started, the number of people using the post office has sharply increased.

“Down the road, there’ll be an actual tablet where the students will swipe their cards before they get to the service counter and a ticket will be printed behind the scenes, so we can start the delivery [of bringing the packages to the service counter] while the student is standing in line,” Lane said.

He hopes that the tablet system will be implemented in a month or so. However, he said that it’s not the software that’s causing the issues. “It’s the back end,” Lane said. “We just don’t have the proper space to store student packages, so we end up digging through a lot of packages in cramped areas, which takes a long time.”

Lane’s also noticed that there a lot more packages—especially in the first few weeks with students ordering their textbooks. Additionally, the packages themselves are getting bigger, with students ordering things like bicycles and carpets. “We have a very small facility here, so it’s becoming an issue,” Lane said.

Kevin Costello ‘20, a computer science major and student post office worker said that the new system is great and speeds up the process—but, he mentioned an additional issue of actually finding the packages on the shelves.

Lane said this problem is not specific to Marist, as it is apparently happening in colleges across the country. “Society has changed to buying packages online and the Marist student is no different,” Lane said.

Given that, he’s trying to fix this issue. It “seems to be the trend of colleges now, [where the other colleges are] getting away from the actual student mailbox,” Lane said. “The students don’t receive much mail anymore, so they’re converting that space over to larger service counters and bigger package areas.”

He said that if the students do get mail, it’s treated like a package where they get an email notification and then they pick it up from the counter.

He wants to see that happen at Marist. “I do have a proposal out there and I’m getting a lot of good management support as far as making changes here so we have more room,” Lane said. “We are always here trying to better serve our students.”

Caroline Chan