BY HANNAH ROACH '17
This academic school year has already featured several significant changes to daily life on campus. Mail is no exception — the mail collection system is moving from Blanchard Campus Center to Auxiliary Services. The first year class now receives all their mail from inside Auxiliary Services, packages and letters alike.
When the 575 members of the first year class receive a letter or pamphlet, the get an email from Auxiliary Services. All students with a 4000 series mailbox number will be able to pick up their mail from Auxiliary Services during working hours, according to the Mount Holyoke website. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday. Doug Vanderpoel, the Director of Auxiliary Services, spoke with Mount Holyoke News about the need for this change. “The mailboxes are going away with the construction of Blanchard, so rather than introduce the new students to the old system and then take it away next semester, we decided to try it here,” Vanderpoel said.
With the construction of the new community center, mail will need a new place to be stored and picked up by students. Vanderpoel hopes that this semester is the time to “work out the bugs.”
The transition has gone relatively smoothly. Auxiliary Services traditionally features a large crowd during the lunch hours, and this year is no different. Despite the increase of need to go into Auxiliary Services, Vanderpoel said the biggest trouble was not in student use, but vendors and bulk mail. “Most of that stuff ends up in the recycling bin anyways, so we have to curb that somehow and then we have to come up with policies to make sure that everybody’s aware of it,” he said.
Students receive bulk mail every week, including coupons, flyers, and pamphlets from vendors like Cindy’s Drive-In, Wow Frozen Yogurt, Lucky’s and other local businesses. The Alumnae Quarterly also uses this bulk mail system. Therefore, the new mail reception system must also find a way to determine what mail is worth an email alert from Auxiliary Services.
Vanderpoel is working on figuring out this problem. “We don’t have some of the software yet, so we are kind of using our package software as it is ... that’s what we are going to work on and what we need to help the students with, so they don’t get a million emails if they get a million letters,” he said.
Many aspects of student daily life have been changed due to the introduction of “SuperBlanch,” or the new Community Center. Student organization rooms, meal options and hours are all changing due to the construction of the new building.
The change is expected to happen within the next school year. Vanderpoel said, “Everybody probably is going to do this next year so this is why we are trying to at least work some of the systems out.” The last class to have mailbox keys issued to them is 2019; all students next year will no longer use the keys.
“The biggest thing is — we’re doing it because the [mailboxes] are moving. They won’t exist anymore.”