Two decades ago, consider how mail was distributed to college campuses. Remember, the Internet was still in its infancy, and mail software was nowhere near what we are accustomed to today. It required a great deal of coordination between people without the benefits of technology. Today, however, advances in mail management technology, coupled with the usage of kiosks, have allowed college campuses and their students to enjoy a more modern and efficient approach.
Typically, mail was delivered to the campus post office. Then the letters and small packages were sorted before being placed in individual students' mailboxes. Larger packages were sorted separately and a paper package notification was left in a student's mailbox. The student would then give this to the mail clerk to retrieve their package. Now imagine the frustration of frantically waiting for an important letter or package to arrive, making a daily trek to the campus mail center to see if your mail had arrived yet. If it didn't, it means another day of uncertainty and waiting. Plus, even if you received a notification in your mailbox that your package arrived, you had to cross your fingers and hope the mail center had someone working that day, and then you needed to wait in line for a pickup. Thankfully, times (and technology) have improved. Now, let's fast-forward to the present.
Now, when mail is delivered to a campus, it is off-loaded and delivered to a central mail room. Mail is still sorted as before, but now packages are scanned electronically and stored within their mail software. Instead of receiving a paper package notification in their individual mailboxes, students now automatically receive an e-mail if they have a package awaiting pickup. This helps to alleviate the uncertainty of whether or not they have a package available for pickup.
Once a student receives the notification e-mail, they can go to the mail center and approach one of the available kiosks. A mail kiosk is a small electronic device that helps streamline the mail process (think of a mounted iPad-sized touch pad). Students have the option of either swiping their student identification in the mail kiosk, or entering their student identification number manually, in order to log into the campus mail system.
The student is then able to see if they have any mail awaiting pickup. If so, they can select it, be placed in a waiting queue, and an electronic notification is sent to the package pickup window to retrieve the package and prepare it for the student's pickup. The mail clerk will then scan the package to mark its pickup and departure from the system. The student will then show the mail clerk a picture identification to prove their identity, sign their signature on an electronic signature pad, and then receive their package. With these changes, student wait time has gone from hours to mere minutes!
As you can see, campus mail has come a long way in the last couple of decades. Thankfully, the use of modern mail management software, coupled with the usage of mail kiosks, has helped improve the efficiency (and satisfaction) of the students they serve.
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