The Rollins College post office is experiencing delays in processing mail after a significant increase in student ordered packages. Processing delays are currently expected to take four days after a package arrives on campus.
John Overberger, the Director of Business Services, said “the cause for the delays is just really the amount of packages we are getting. […] Over my time here the [operation] has went from a mail and letter heavy operation, transitioning to packages with Amazon, and all of the other online resources that folks buy from, that students buy from.”
According to Overberger an average of 5,000 packages are arriving during the first two weeks of the semester. This influx of packages is considered normal for the post office at the beginning of the semester.
“ We are, what, six weeks into the semester […] and we are seeing things level off as far as the amount of packages we are receiving to an amount that we can typically get everything that comes in today loaded into lockers but I make no guarantee that just because you have Amazon Prime or that something was overnighted, or express shipped that we are going to give it to you the same day it arrives. That’s the challenge we have, and I don’t blame the students for having some issues,” Overberger said.
While, online ordering promises a quick delivery through carriers such as Amazon, UPS, and FedEx, the post office has their own internal process that they follow when they receive packages which includes scanning the package into their system, transporting it from their central warehouse located on 450 West Fairbanks, sorting the packages, and loading them into lockers. In addition, the post office sorts all department and student mail.
Despite staff reductions, and the hiring of new student employees, the main causes for the delays is the amount of packages that the campus post office receives, and the amount of lockers.
There are three parcel lockers located on campus: Port (202), Starboard (184), and Lakeside (101) which brings the total number of lockers to 487. When a package arrives, students are given up to three days to pick up their package with notifications from Packcity. At the same time, this three day time span leaves few empty spaces for new packages, further contributing to the delays. Overberger has been collaborating with Amazon to get more Amazon lockers put on campus.
“We are looking to install two outdoor Amazon lockers. One outside Elizabeth hall down in the patio, and one outside Lakeside main entrance over by the circle. That will provide an avenue for the students to ship directly to a locker right from Amazon so that way it kind of takes the middle party, us, out of the equation for Amazon purchases and puts the responsibility on the Amazon driver to pull up, load lockers, and so forth, and so on that might be a quicker turn around time for some students.” said Overberger said.
Delays are not the only change at the post office, as of last semester, the post office changed their business hours. Currently, they are open Tuesday through Thursday, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The most significant change, is that the window is closed both on Mondays, and Fridays. We are getting mail from the weekends, we are getting our package deliveries from the weekend, and UPS, FedEx, they hold stuff, and they all come on Monday morning with three days worth of deliveries, […] so it makes more sense to focus on the sorting operation, and loading packages that day than it does waiting for a student to come pick up their mail,” said Overberger.
The campus post office is also withdrawing from postal transactions such as selling stamps, and shipping packages. If students are seeking these services, UPS, FedEx, and the Winter Park Post Office are all within walking distance of campus.
“We are doing our best to try to get things in and out as quickly as possible so if there is some downtime it’s typically the beginning of each semester,” said Overberger.
In order to help the campus post office reduce delays during this time students are encouraged to pick up their packages in a timely manner when they receive a notification from Packcity. This frees up locker space, and makes it simple to load more lockers. However, if a student receives a notification from Amazon, UPS, or FedEx that their package has been delivered but they have not gotten an email from Packcity, within 24 to 48 hours, they should email the post office at email@example.com, providing them with the tracking number, student name, and box number.