GW creates central package facility

Students living on campus this year will pick up their packages at 2025 F Street, GW Mail Services officials said.

Mail Services officials decided late this spring to stop delivering parcels to every residence hall, citing safety reasons following last fall’s anthrax scare, which led to the shutdown of D.C.’s central sorting facility and great delays in campus mail service.

Regular mail will still be delivered directly to residence halls.

“The University made it a priority to evaluate its current mail handling practices to ensure the highest degree of safety and security for its students,” said Ayodele McClenney, senior project manager for the Office of Auxiliary Services.

The University is also attempting to address student concerns about package security, said Robert Chernak, vice-president for Student and Academic Support Services.

“There was student concern over incidents of parcel theft … this system should really cut down on that,” Chernak said. He said one central facility and professional staff should give students more security.

This fall, students will initially be notified by e-mail the day their package is delivered, in addition to receiving a note in their mailbox within 24 hours of delivery, McClenney said.

From the point of notification, residents will have seven business days to pick up the package. She said the facility will be open seven days a week with shorter hours on Saturday and Sunday and provide hand carts for student use.

McClenney said there is not enough room to hold all student packages indefinitely and parcels will be returned to the sender after seven days. She said students unable to pick up the parcel during the time period will be able to make arrangements with Mail Services to hold the package beyond the seven working days.

Students can still have packages delivered but it will now cost $3 for the first two parcels and $1 for every additional package. She said students will be able to use debit dollars to pay for delivery.

Residents will have to sign for the package at the Mail Services facility and delivery service will be available Monday-Friday from 4-10 p.m. Mail Services will publish a schedule with specific delivery times for each residence hall, she said.

Fees will go into the operating budget and offset the cost of using the Pitney Bowes Management company to handle packages.

McClenney said Pitney Bowes is in the process of informing mail carriers like UPS, Federal Express and the U.S. Postal Service about the central depot. Students will still be able to mail packages without contacting the central facility, she said.

Previously, packages were delivered to residence, where student employees sorted them. Students would receive a notice in their mailbox that they had a package to pick up at the hall office.

GW was successful in transferring mail delivery duties from student assistants to professional employees last winter and the move to one central package facility was the next step in insuring student safety, she

She said cost did not play a role in the decision making and both Chernak and McCelenney were unsure how the new system’s costs
compare to the old delivery system.

She did note that the 2025 F street facility will need some renovations before September.

McClenney said GW looked at centralized systems at Emory, George Mason and James Madison Universities before it decided on creating one facility.

Non-student residents of recently purchased residence halls like the West End and the Schenley will also have to follow the system, she said.

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