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Brody neighborhood centralizes package center to adapt to residents' growing deliveries

September 15, 2023
<p>An MSU student waits to pick up a package at Brody Hall on Sept. 6, 2023. Instead of delivering packages to the surrounding dorms, Brody Hall now requires students to pick up their packages themselves.</p>

An MSU student waits to pick up a package at Brody Hall on Sept. 6, 2023. Instead of delivering packages to the surrounding dorms, Brody Hall now requires students to pick up their packages themselves.

Brody Hall is now the centralized location for all Brody neighborhood residents to retrieve packages. The move from several locations to just one is a result of an increase in the number of orders coming through residence halls and a decrease in the number of staff

All on-campus residents could send packages to the halls up to a week before move-in day on Aug 24. In Brody neighborhood, 6,000 packages arrived between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, MSU Residence Education and Housing Services Associate Director for Communications Bethany Balks said.

“Where (this decision) stems from is the amount of packages have increased every year for the past … three, five years, and the size of the packages,” Balks said. “Students do take advantage of the package process, and I understand. It’s great, right? You want everything to come to you. It just means that it’s a large volume.” 

Balks considers this a pilot program, but this isn’t the first time Brody neighborhood has used Brody Hall as their only package center. Last year, the neighborhood opened only Brody Hall's package center for move-in week, then continued opening the rest of the neighborhood’s centers. A lot of the packages were so large, though, that they had to stay in Brody Hall.

“If you think of the size of the individual halls in Brody neighborhood, like Emmons Hall (and) Bailey Hall, there’s not a lot of hidden storage space,” Balks said.

The centralization is also a result of fewer students working as service center representatives. Last year, this meant package centers were only open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Balks believes combining all service center representatives to one package center makes staffing more reliable, as Brody Hall’s package center is now open from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

While working in the package center, service center representatives log arriving packages and email students whose packages are ready for pick up. Once a student scans their ID, a representative finds their package from the storage center and checks it out

Biochemistry sophomore Lila Leonard lives in Brody neighborhood for the first time this semester. Her previous dorm in South neighborhood’s Case Hall stored their residents’ packages in the basement

Leonard said she receives about three packages per week

“I’ve never seen the line have more than like, four people (in line),” Leonard said. “I walk a further distance (to collect packages), but other than that, it’s the exact same thing.”

Another Brody resident, mechanical engineering sophomore Eric Larson, also lived in South neighborhood last year. His former dorm, Wilson Hall, stored most of his packages, though the large ones were stored in Case Hall.

Larson picked up his first package this school year last Sunday. Even as the only person in line, waiting for the package “took a bit longer" than at Wilson. though he added that might be because he waited a week after the package was delivered. If no one collects the package two weeks after the package center sends an email notification to the student, then it gets returned back to the sender.

When he picked up another package Tuesday evening, however, he waited behind five other students and spent ten minutes waiting in line. Larson said he believes many students received an email from the package center at the same time, meaning the two service center representatives working at the time spent two minutes retrieving a package for each student.

Larson was unaware that Brody’s mail system had changed, but standard letters still go directly to the individual halls and are placed in student mailboxes, only opened by the front desk and students’ room keys. This has not changed from previous years, Balks said. However, this confused Larson, as he said no one has worked the front desk in his residential hall.

“For me, it’s the same distance (as when using Wilson’s package center)," Larson said. “It might be better to have it in the building if it’s raining, though. (The centralized system) makes sense, but it’s different than what I’m used to.”

Brody students picking up packages can scan a sign’s QR code, leading to a survey that asks for opinions on the new package center.

“In Brody, (having this new package center) works really well, because you already go to Brody Hall for your dining options (and) other service center functions,” Balks said. "... We’ll continue to review data and student feedback and staffing to see where we might want to make other changes in the future. We really want to make sure … it’s working for our student staff and certainly for our residents.”

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