College and university campuses are busy places, with staff and students alike spending much time there. Some campuses boast over 15,000 students, and even smaller campuses can serve thousands. Many campuses have housing onsite, and even those that do not may have staff who spend much time there. Regardless of how large a college campus is and how many students it serves, there is always the need for mail delivery. This is especially true in universities where students are away from home for months or years at a time, and will require mail delivery.
Mail rooms were the popular solution for managing student mail in the past, and instructors and other staff would also need to receive mail. But mail rooms present many issues on their own, and often a better solution for mail and packages is needed to solve these.
Mail Rooms: A Sea of Issues
Often, colleges and universities rely on mail rooms to deliver mail to thousands of students and staff. A mail room receives letters and packages directly from the USPS and acts as a form of private delivery to students and staff. They essentially act as the campus post office.
However, mail rooms are feeling the strain in recent years, and the first issue is size: these rooms cannot expand to accommodate the growing volume of packages and letters that they’re receiving. This means that despite adding more staff to handle the packages, mail rooms can’t keep up. Many were designed to handle envelopes only, and are now seeing record-breaking volumes of packages, including care packages from home.
Mail rooms are also often only open during business hours, and students have difficulty accessing their mail if they are not free during these hours. This means that mail, including packages, can pile up and even get lost in the chaos. Students may not be able to retrieve their mail in a timely manner, leading to frustration and inconvenience.
Centralized Mail For Private Delivery
Many mail rooms and university campuses are making use of centralized mail delivery systems to solve their issues with mail volume. These systems can include multiple customer compartments for receiving regular mail, and may or may not come with parcel lockers.
4B mailboxes and 4C horizontal mailboxes consist of a few to dozens of customer compartments that cluster together in one cabinet. These mailboxes can come as wall-mounted units or recessed units (which are placed into an opening in a wall,) making them versatile when it comes to installation and location. This means that these mailboxes are often ideal for installation in large, central hallways or lobbies. Wall-mounted mailboxes are easy to set up, while recessed mailboxes can help to save valuable space.
4B mailboxes tend to have vertical or square customer units, while 4C mailboxes, the newer models, have more secure horizontal customer units and at least one parcel locker per every ten units. If seeking direct USPS delivery for your campus or dormitories, then 4C boxes will be needed, as they are manufactured to meet current USPS 4C-STD regulations. However, 4C models can be installed for private delivery as well.
If campus staff will be receiving mail from the USPS and distributing it to students and staff from there, purchasing 4B mailboxes and others marked for private delivery is fine. Employees can use this private delivery system to safely deliver mail to each recipient. This also reduces the chances of lost and disorganized mail.
In lobbies and hallways, it’s possible to install several of these units side by side to meet the needs of hundreds of students or staff. Numbers can be ordered for these mailboxes, and each customer receives a key to access their compartment at their convenience. The need for students and staff to collect mail during business hours is eliminated, and mail no longer has to pile up in a cramped space.
Packages, of course, take up far more space than envelopes and other small mail. The good news is that parcel lockers can be purchased to store and deliver larger packages. These units are essentially secure lockers that come in a variety of sizes, and they can be installed beside an existing centralized mail system (such as wall-mounted or recessed horizontal mailboxes) or alone. When a package is delivered to one, a numbered key is given to the recipient (either in person or in their normal customer compartment, if one exists) and the recipient can then access their package at their convenience.
If your campus mailboxes will be receiving mail directly from the USPS, at least one parcel locker is required for every ten units. For private delivery, there are no requirements.
Parcel lockers can also be purchased to work with an existing mail room and can help to clear out packages that are taking up too much space. Using parcel lockers can also reduce lost and damaged packages.
Another benefit to parcel lockers is that like horizontal mailboxes, they can be installed with a new or existing centralized mail system. More can be added as needed to meet the growing demands of package delivery.
Freestanding Mailboxes For Dorms
For smaller campuses or for dormitories, freestanding pedestal mailboxes can be installed for each dormitory building. These mailboxes can be purchased for private or for USPS delivery. However, you’ll need to purchase 4C compliant boxes for the USPS to deliver.
Freestanding mailboxes are like horizontal mailboxes in that they have multiple customer compartments, often horizontal ones, and at least one parcel locker per ten customer units in the case of USPS service. These mailboxes are great for outdoor use and stand on a pedestal, which in turn is mounted to a concrete slab. They are very durable and resistant to damage, and can be installed side by side to serve dorms and apartments.
Solve Your Mail Room Woes Today