This fall, Kenyon made two significant changes to its mail services program: The Mailroom moved from its location under the Bookstore to a larger space in the basement of Gund Commons, and first-year students did not receive P.O. boxes at the Gambier Post Office.
Historically, students are assigned a P.O. box when they arrive on campus their first year and maintain that same P.O. box throughout their time at Kenyon, typically sharing their box with one other student. According to Fred Linger, manager of business services, each P.O. box costs the College $106 a year to rent.
Now, first years can have both packages and regular mail sent to the Mailroom at 101 E. Brooklyn St. When the Mailroom receives a package, the student is notified by email. However, when first years receive letters they do not receive this notification and instead must check regularly as if it’s a P.O. box.
Linger said the College made these changes for two primary reasons: the unusually large size of this year’s first-year class, and an increase in the quantity of packages students are receiving.
“It became apparent that we would have to triple students in many postal boxes, something we were uncomfortable doing for reasons of privacy and security, more so than the current two per box already concerns us,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian.
He attributed the increase in packages to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the issue first became apparent in the fall 2020 semester. Linger said that now the Village receives more than 700 packages a day.
“In the Fall of 2020 so many student parcels began arriving that our former location and the Gambier Post Office could barely contain them,” Linger said.
Lucy Eichenaur ’24, a student employee in the Mailroom, echoed Linger’s concerns.
“The shelves were constantly full and we would run into each other a bit. Especially with over enrollment we never would have been able to fit the current amount of packages in the old space since it was already packed with only 3 classes on campus,’’ Eichenaur ’24 wrote in a message to the Collegian.
Linger said the future of student P.O. boxes remains uncertain. “This year represents an experiment in seeing what volume the Gund location can handle. And, of course, the size of next year’s class is yet unknown and could be a factor in any decision,” he said.
Eichenaur wasn’t too concerned about this change. “I don’t use my P.O. box because I forget to check it and also because the post office sends packages back, unlike the mailroom which keeps them for however long until you pick them up,” she said. “I think phasing out the use of the post office makes sense with how much P.O. boxes cost Kenyon and how many students solely use the mailroom, especially since postal workers can be protected by the American Postal Workers Union and wouldn’t lose their jobs over this.”
Linger asked that students come by the Mailroom and check for letters they may have received, which he said are piling up. The Mailroom is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.