Mailroom Prepares to Implement Electronic Lockers


Abe Frato

The new locker system will begin operation in January of next year and digitize the mailroom system.

The mailroom recently placed electronic lockers next to the Rathskeller. The lockers, scheduled to start operating Jan. 2, 2023, are a result of the Sustainable Infrastructure Program, which will implement a geothermal HVAC system in Wilder Hall and use the former mailbox space for its mechanical and networking systems. 

“The current student mailboxes are being eliminated due to some construction in Wilder Hall,” Kris Weber, facilities operations business manager, wrote in an email to the Review. “The lockers will be used to distribute letter mail and small packages to students once the current boxes are taken out of service.  Not all packages will be able to go into the lockers because of varying size or available lockers, therefore, some will still have to be picked up at the mail room window.”

To access mail, students will receive an email from the mailroom with a one-time-use barcode or six-digit number. Students will be able to scan the code or enter the number onto the electronic locker interface, at which point a locker containing their package will open. Upon closure, the system will revoke the students’ locker access and a student worker will replace it with another’s package. This new system is expected to reduce the mailroom’s footprint and decrease mailroom traffic.

Weber notes that there is the potential for mail backlog in reducing letter space from over 3,000 mailboxes to a mere 348 electronic lockers. Considering that the vast majority of letter mail comes from checks, Weber strongly advises students to opt into direct deposit instead to alleviate the mail influx and reduce backlog potential. 

“I would say that if you are ordering packages from a vendor like Amazon, and they ask if you want items shipped all together or in multiple packages, please choose all together,” Weber said. “This will cut down on the number of packages that we receive and in turn will take up a lesser number of lockers once packages arrive. Students will be able to pick up mail or packages anytime that Wilder is open. Although, if you are receiving packages that do not fit in the lockers or all of the lockers are full, you will still have to come to the mailroom window during our hours to claim packages.” 

Some students have expressed concerns with this change, especially the removal of individual mailboxes. 

“We have mail slots already, and I really like them,” College third-year Abigail Harris Crowne said. “You don’t need to use technology to open them. They’re very simple and easy to open. While I like the idea that you can use these electronic lockers for packages because then you don’t have to wait in line, you can already get your letters at any hour of the day, and everyone has their own. It doesn’t really make sense to make this change because it’s less convenient and takes up double the space for letters.”

Weber said that more information about the locker system will be forthcoming before its launch in January.