U.’ve got mail: An interview with the head of Mail Services

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Since arriving in September, you may have noticed that many things on Brown’s campus had changed from last year. Francesca’s on Thayer replaced what was once chainlink fences and crumbling cement, “Imagine Brown 250+” is gone, and, most notably, the mailroom has undergone a dramatic makeover. Elizabeth Gentry, Assistant Vice President of Business and Financial Services, sat down with BlogDH to discuss what happened, why it happened, and where to finally find that mailroom playlist.

Gentry first explains that most first-years don’t realize what the mail system was like last year. “We’ve long outgrown our space, especially during peak times, at the start of semester, especially the start of the year. So, we had two locations: the mailroom in J. Walter Wilson, and what used to be ‘The Gate.’ The system turned out to be very confusing for many students. It just wasn’t as efficient as it could be.”

Packages were delivered to either location based on which carrier (USPS, UPS, FedEx, to name a few) delivered them, but as Gentry points out, this system was always so simple. “UPS began this program called ‘The Last Mile,’ where UPS would deliver your package to, say, the US Post Office, which would bring it the rest of the way to us. So, to the student, the carrier is UPS, but to us, the carrier is USPS. It was confusing.”

Not to mention, package deliveries skyrocketed. “We began getting direct deliveries from Amazon,” Gentry notes. “They didn’t notify us beforehand, but one day we got five pallets [pictured below] full of shipments directly from the Amazon fulfillment center, because so many deliveries were coming straight to us. I’m talking pallets as tall as me, five of them. And they just kept coming.”

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