Mailroom staff engage with students, brighten lives
By SIERRA HORTON
In the modern age of online shopping and Amazon Prime, there are very few things that you can’t order online and let’s be honest, it’s often way more convenient than running to Target.
With the ease of online shopping, it is easy to assume that shipping companies and mailroom employees all over the world are handling more packages on a daily basis than ever before. The mailroom here on campus is no exception to this surplus of packages.
The employees in the mailroom make student’s trips to pick up mail one of enjoyment with the caring effort that they put into remembering the faces and names of students on campus.
If you have ever ordered your textbooks with Chegg, bought a new dress from Poshmark, or even stocked your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator with HelloFresh, you’ve probably been to the mailroom more than a handful of times.
Behind the scenes, there are two different organization processes that are necessary in order for the mailroom to function efficiently. The student mail has to be sorted into the corresponding mailboxes and the faculty mail that has to be organized and divided into departments to be delivered to each building across campus, known as the campus run. The most difficult part for many of the employees is getting to know the campus run.
LaTanja Kelly has been working in the mailroom on campus since July 2017 and says, “It’s a different experience because I’ve never worked at a university before, but I absolutely enjoy it.”
Pamela Cannon, who has been working in the mailroom as Mailroom Supervisor since January of this year, enjoys the change of pace and everyday challenges that are presented in the mailroom compared to her past positions in retail.
With frequent trips to the mailroom, many students find themselves not even having to say their box number upon walking up to the window and, in many cases, the employees know the student’s so well that they memorize their names and box numbers. This experience is all due to the friendly faces of the mailroom employees here at Mary Washington that go above and beyond the requirements of their job.
“My favorite part of working in the mailroom is getting to know you guys [the students] and seeing the shock on your faces when I know your box numbers or your names before you even come to the window,” says Kelly.
Both Kelly and Cannon agreed that memorizing faces, names and box numbers comes naturally as they interact with students, and it definitely is easier for those who receive many packages.
“I memorize faces based on the amount of packages students receive,” says Cannon. “Their EagleOne cards often have different hair or something that has changed about them [since their freshman year] which also helps me remember them, and if they have a service animal or something unique about them, it makes it even easier for me to remember who they are. Sometimes I can’t remember a student’s name but for some reason I can easily remember their box number, which helps too.”
Kelly said her goal with memorizing names and box numbers is to, “make you guys [the students] feel comfortable and let you all know that you are not just students to us, we recognize and know who you guys are because we care about you all.”
To make their jobs easier, both Kelly and Cannon greatly appreciate when students approach the window with their EagleOne cards ready, knowing their box number and not distracted by their phones or headphones. Even though they cannot look up your box number, they encourage students to ask any questions about tracking packages, problems opening their mailbox or any other problems that students may run into while in the mailroom.
Cannon also shared that there are questions that they are required to ask, like verifying the name on your package. Even though some students may be annoyed by this, it is a policy that ensures that your package never ends up in the wrong hands.
The employees in the UMW mailroom are a valuable part of the campus community and a positive light in the lives of the students they interact with on a daily basis.