Officials add first Foggy Bottom in-residence package lockers to Shenkman Hall

Media Credit: Sabrina Godin | Photographer

Shenkman Hall residents can receive mail and packages from lockers in the building's lobby.

Shenkman Hall residents can now collect packages and mail without leaving the building.

Officials said they installed 174 package lockers in the residence hall to reduce long waits and large amounts of mail at GW Mail and Package Services. In interviews, more than 20 students living in Shenkman Hall said the lockers will make collecting packages more convenient because they can skip the two-block walk to package services, which is located on F Street.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said officials installed package lockers in the residence hall at the beginning of this academic year after receiving positive feedback from the 108 lockers officials added in West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus last summer.

“Given the popularity of online shopping, the University has seen continued and steady growth in the number of packages received annually by Mail and Package Services,” Nosal said in an email. “In response, GW has worked to streamline its operations to overcome the increase in volume and improve service for our students.”

She said students can access the lockers 24/7 and will be notified via email when they receive mail or a package, which eliminates the need to check their mailbox daily and memorize a mailbox combination. Nosal said students can currently only use the lockers to receive standard mail, like letters and catalogs, but the lockers will hold package deliveries in the coming weeks.

“The postal locker system in Shenkman Hall is also a pilot program, but in this case, the 174 postal lockers will be both a replacement for standard student mailboxes and also offer package retrieval for Shenkman Hall residents,” she said.

Nosal said officials will gather feedback from students and package services workers as the package lockers are used.

“We do not anticipate any negative impact to Mail and Package Services operations from the addition of these lockers,” she said. “We will, however, monitor both operational impacts and gather feedback as we conduct this pilot program and determine what changes might be appropriate and/or if additional locations should be added.”

When students receive a package, they will be emailed a PIN to type into the screen at the locker dock, according to an email sent to Shenkman residents Thursday. The locker dock includes a card reader where students will be able to scan their student ID to open the locker with their package, the email states.

More than 20 students living in Shenkman said the lockers will make collecting packages easier, which could increase the frequency with which they place online orders.

Kelsey Sanderson, a sophomore, said the package locker system will make collecting mail more convenient than having to walk the extra three blocks to package services.

“You can just come from class and pick it up,” she said. “It’s kind of like when you are at home. You come home and you pick up your packages on the way to your home, instead of having to go somewhere else.”

Sophomore Carson Ward said the package locker system should be expanded to residence halls farther from package services than Shenkman, like Munson and JBKO halls, so students don’t have to carry packages more than a few blocks.

“That way, instead of having to go to regular packaging services, it can be further divided up so there aren’t long lines between going to package services and going to our services here,” Ward said.

Sophomore Kiera Fyffe said using the package lockers on the Vern when she lived in West Hall last year was convenient because she could grab her packages 24/7 instead of planning her pick-ups around package services’ operating hours.

“I think it can help with the congestion that package services probably has because there is only one location on Foggy Bottom for packages,” Fyffe said.

Sophomore Leeor Harel said she enjoys the convenience of the package lockers, but added that expanding the system to every residence hall could lead to a cutback in jobs for package services employees.

“It’s tricky, because if they did it in every single residence hall and the people at package services would lose their jobs, and that’s something to consider,” she said.

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