The typical campus mailroom configuration in 2018 consists of a bank of hundreds, if not thousands, of mostly empty P.O. boxes, a desk for package pickup, and a long line of students waiting to be served.

Clemson University had one such typical mailroom, with average wait times exceeding 40 minutes for students to pick up mail. It’s a common problem: A mailroom designed decades ago to handle mostly letters is struggling to adapt to an era when text messages have largely replaced letters and e-commerce is flooding a plugged-in generation of students with packages in unprecedented volumes. By partnering with Ricoh USA, Inc., to redesign its mailroom around the types of mail today’s students actually get, Clemson slashed the average wait time to just over one minute. These changes came as Clemson reinstated its on-campus print shop, which has in turn driven enough revenue to cover nearly 90 percent of the costs of both the print and mail changes.

Clemson has implemented electronic kiosks that allow students to retrieve their packages quickly and easily. These kiosks double as point of sale terminals, providing a similarly streamlined experience for students shipping outbound mail. They accept payment via student card, credit card, check, or cash, and even allow users to compare prices across FedEx, UPS, and the USPS. The revamped mail center also extended its hours to better suit students’ busy and often variable schedules, staying open during lunch and the early evening.

About the Author:

Ellen Ullman is editorial director, content services, for eSchool Media.


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