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Private carriers to run Roble package center


Details are emerging about the proposal from Student Housing to reroute students’ privately shipped mail from housing front desks to a “package center” behind Roble Hall. Housing Executive Director Rodger Whitney and Dean of Residential Education Deborah Golder announced the proposal, set to go into effect Sept. 1, last month.

Starting fall quarter, students in campus residences will no longer be allowed to receive packages from private carriers, such as UPS and FedEx, at their doors. Instead, all packages will be directed to a new “package center” in a former kitchen behind Roble Hall. The site is accessible via the road between Roble and Lake Lagunita.

A UPS truck makes a delivery at Jerry. Mail shipped privately to Row houses may be diverted to a new "package center" behind Roble in the fall. (ISAAC GATENO/The Stanford Daily)

Under the terms of an agreement between the University and shipping companies, the private carriers will cover the cost of setting up and running the center, and will operate it. A second package center will be created in Escondido Village to serve the graduate student community as well as undergraduates living there or in Rains apartments.

Carriers will notify package recipients via e-mail when their packages are available for pickup at the center. Meanwhile, mail sent via the U.S. Postal Service will continue to go to the Stanford post office, where each student will be required to rent a box as their permanent mailing address.

The status of package delivery to Row houses is still unclear. Row houses were never specifically discussed, but Row residents will have the option to have packages delivered to the center, according to Imogen Hinds, senior associate director in Student Housing. While the houses might still be able to receive packages, it is possible that delivery companies will divert all packages to the center for efficiency.

Whitney cited security concerns as part of the reasoning behind the new center in an e-mail to The Daily.

“For some time now, students have been expressing concern about missing packages and need for more accurate tracking of packages,” Whitney said. “We’ve also had significant concerns around package delivery staff entering residences.”

“The package center…will ensure secure storage, complete tracking of packages and convenient pick-up hours,” he added.

The location of the package center has raised concerns for some students. Andrew Molina ’11, a resident assistant in Cedro, said the distance between Roble and East Campus might be a problem for some.

“A significant number of students do not have cars and will not be able to transfer their packages from Roble to East Campus,” Molina said. “I think it needs to be more thought out, and I think they need to take students into account more actively than they have.”

ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11 agreed.

“There was no reaching out on the side of Housing to the student government in particular or students in general about what this new packaging model should look like,” Cardona said.

“Rather than taking a comprehensive look from both the student and the administrative perspective,” Molina added, “I think they are going solely on the administrative perspective. They need to take into account the realities of student life here.”

Whitney said Roble was actually preferable because cars could access it, and said a nearby Marguerite stop could help students without cars. The chance to use the former kitchen space was also an advantage.

He also said the undergraduate and graduate housing advisory committees, on which 16 students sit each year, were major contributors to the plan’s formation, as was Greg Boardman, the vice provost for student affairs.

After the center is established, Whitney said, other options would be considered.

“As we see the use and volume of the centers develop, there may be a possibility of reassigning some undergraduate residences to the East side package center location, which is initially intended for graduate student use,” he said.

He added that a partnership between Stanford Student Enterprises and the University, which would provide a delivery service, might be possible. Cardona said she hopes the administration will work with students on mail delivery plans beyond next year.

Kabir Sawhney is currently a desk editor for the News section. He served as the Managing Editor of Sports last volume.