A look behind the surface of the mailroom

Queens Service Center

Getting the mail can be anything but a simple process.

In order to collect their packages, students muse visit the mailroom located on the bottom floor of Trexler. Queens refers to this section of the school as the Service Center since they do more than work with mail, including printing, laminating, cutting, and other services.

Tammy Branchfield has been working at Queens for six years. As the manager of the Service Center, she prides herself on quality service for her customers.

“If it doesn’t look good to me, it won’t look good to the student or the teacher,” she said. “We don’t like that here.”

One of the Service Center’s newest updates was locking the front of the individually keyed mailboxes.  Students will still have their own box numbers, but those mailboxes can only be accessed from the back. 

Now when mail arrives, whether in traditional envelopes or packages, students are notified by email. And when they come to pick up their mail they swipe their card outside the front desk and a service person will retrieve the mail from the student’s mailbox. 

Branchfield finds the process cumbersome. Students shouldn’t have to swipe their card and come up to the window just to get a letter, magazine, or even “junk mail,” when they could just unlock their boxes themselves, she explained.

Not everyone was opposed to the changes. “The new arrangement allows for a much more efficient arrangement of the mail compared to storing it in the individual mailboxes,” said Brian Baute, chief information officer at Queens.

“Picking up both mail & packages at the counter provides a more consistent experience for students,” said Baute. “Plus, students no longer have to worry about losing mailbox keys and paying for [the] replacement cost.”

Unlike when a package is sent to a house, Queens must label, organize, and store their mail in the proper place so a service employee can retrieve it for students and staff.  The Service Center then emails the students, verifying the mail was handled and is ready to be picked up.

This can lead to a slight delay from the notice of delivery to the actual ability for a student to retrieve their mail. “Do not go by what UPS and Amazon say,” said Branchfield. “Go by us.” 

 According to Branchfield, if someone doesn’t receive an email and they know their package should be at the Service Center, give it a day or so. Students can also head to the Service Center with their tracking numbers for assistance.

There are a few reasons why a student may not get an email. Packages must be addressed with a person’s first and last name and mailbox number, and some students forget to register for a mailbox number upon arrival at Queens.

Branchfield has seen some crazy things delivered to Queens in her time. “I’ve gotten a tire before,’’ she said. “A dad just sent his daughter a tire.” Other unusualities include a sweet potato and pink piggy bank, both possessing a postage stamp pressed right onto the object. 

Unlike many of Queens’ amenities, the Service Center doesn’t accept credit cards or Q-cards, only cash and check payments. “We don’t have the software to do what others do and charge student’s cards,” Branchfield said.

When asked why the school wouldn’t switch over to using Q-card money, Branchfield said “They told us to turn a profit.”

“[But] we are pursuing adding a credit card reader to pay for print and mail services and hope to have that in place as soon as possible,” said Baute.

The Service Center charges 75 cents per copy for a colored, 11 x 17 cardstock print.  But in the library, the same print can be made on standard bond paper, for only 12 cents. This 75 cents charge per print is up 50 percent from last year’s charge of 50 cents a copy.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.