Posted 8:26 a.m. Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Eagle Mail Center keeps pace with spike in deliveries during COVID-19
By Maddie Kozel, sophomore English major
Texting and social media remain the easiest ways to communicate with family and friends, but old-fashioned snail mail continues to be important.
The Eagle Mail Center is in charge of one of the busiest behind-the-scenes processes at UWL.
Since transitioning to encompass all on-campus mail for residence halls, the Eagle Mail Center has become responsible for receiving, processing and distributing mail for about 30% of the total student population.
Jordan Vlasak, graduate assistant for Residence Life operations, says staffing and hours of operations are impressive.
“There are 12 mail assistants,” she says. “They each work between 10 and 12 hours during the week, plus some weekend hours.”
Workers show up around 10 a.m. to begin processing and organizing the mail as it arrives from postal carriers.
“Coordinating with all of the moving parts is the most important aspect, especially during the holidays,” Vlasak adds.
By noon, the Eagle Mail Center is open for students to come and collect their mail until the center closes at 6 p.m.
The biggest mail-related impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is the ever-growing spike in online orders and package deliveries.
From October through December 2021, for example, the Mail Center received more than 21,000 items — approximately 260 packages and deliveries a day.
Sophomore Sidney Mitchell, a Mail Center assistant, said a large majority of her day is made up of scanning packages. “After we have scanned the large amount, we also have to sort them,” she notes.
The rise in online orders and packages is one reason UWL shifted from individual residence hall mail desks to a centralized larger one.
Having one location for mail delivery has made much more sense given the safety precautions associated with COVID-19.
Additionally, the residence hall mail desks were too small to keep pace with the rapidly increasing demand for online orders.
Working at the Mail Center, although hard work, is also a good environment where employees can grow and solve problems.
Sophomore Madison Wrobleski, another Mail Center assistant, says the best part of the job is meeting new people.
“I was a transfer student this year,” she explains, “and I was able to make a lot of new friends.”
The working environment is a close one, allowing employees to feel welcomed and important — which makes a difference while working during the school year.
“One of my favorite parts of this job is the friendships and relationships I have made,” says junior Alex Green, Mail Center lead. “The other really rewarding part is being able to see students’ reactions when they receive mail they were waiting for, or if a family member sent them something they didn't know about. Some students get very excited, and that just makes my day even better.”