GW mail system looks for right code

In an attempt to bring unity to the residence hall mail system, the University is asking students to use the University ZIP code – 20052 – on all letters and packages.

University Mail Services sent a letter to all students in residence halls this week telling them they must use 20052.

“It’s something we probably should have been doing all along,” said Paul Barkett, manager of housing services for the Community Living and Learning Center.

Previously, some halls used other ZIP codes, including 20005, 20006 and 20037. Mail sent to those ZIP codes went straight to the residence halls, but mail addressed to 20052 went to the University mailroom, where it was sorted for distribution to the halls.

“We are trying to get the U.S. Postal Service out of the loop,” said Jim Miller, site manager for GW Mail Services. “We want to get them not to deliver to the residence halls.”

Miller said mail will be delivered to students faster if it is addressed to the University ZIP code. He said the University receives mail in the morning, and sorts and distributes it that afternoon, but the U.S. Postal Service sorts and delivers it the next morning.

“(The Postal Service) has to sort for the whole area, but we sort just GW stuff,” Miller said.

Barkett said the residence halls will receive mail later in the afternoon for distribution the same day it is sent to GW Mail Services.

Using GW Mail Services as an intermediary will increase security of mail, said Mike Walker, senior assistant dean of students.

“We have more control over its delivery,” Walker said. “Mail has been left insecure in the residence halls by the Postal Service.”

He said when the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail Saturdays, no residence hall staff is on duty in some halls, and the mail has been left out in the offices. But, the halls coordinate delivery with GW Mail Services to ensure someone will receive the mail.

Although students are being told to use the University ZIP code, mail still will be delivered to the residence halls directly from the Postal Service.

“For the Postal Service to stop delivering mail, there would have to be 100 percent compliance,” Miller said.

Because so much mail is sent from mailing lists with the old ZIP code, that may never be possible, he said.

Walker said he believes once upperclassmen become familiar with the change, less mail will be sent using the old ZIP codes.

“I think like any other change, it’s going to take a while to have the information that has been a change,” Walker said.

The new policy is an extra burden for GW Mail Services, but Miller said it is worth it.

“It makes more work for us, but its something we can handle,” Miller said. “It gives us more responsibility.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.