After delays from Hurricane Irma, the UF Housing and Residence Education’s new mail locker system had a soft launch in Jennings Hall on Monday.
The new locker system, which will be installed in 12 housing areas across campus, is meant to streamline the package delivery process. Sara Tanner, the director of marketing and communications for the Division of Student Affairs, said there have been no additional costs with the delay and said the total cost for the new system is about $400,000.
Though the initial goal was to have the new mail lockers open for students in October, the need for a software update also delayed the opening. Tanner expects the other lockers to open sometime in the Spring semester.
“Honestly, we’ve had so many things that have happened this semester,” Tanner said.Lockers have about 70 units and students can access them day or night, Tanner said.
Graham Woods, a UF finance freshman living in Jennings Hall, said he’s enjoyed the package system.
“I guess it’s kind of nice because you can pick it up any time of day,” the 19-year-old said. “You don’t have to wait for the desk to open.”
The lockers are electronic systems that will allow students access with a code emailed to them. Once the locker system opens in all 12 areas, students will have 24/7 access to packages.
Danann Bledsoe, the assistant director for area desk operations, said packages will be delivered to a central location on campus maintained by the housing office where they will be sorted. Overnight and express packages will be given priority.
Staff are being trained about the process, she said. First, the information technology department is learning the software program. Then, area desk staff will be trained. Finally, students will be taught how to engage with the new system.
“It’s very user-friendly, and I think that our students are really going to resonate with the process because it’s really built for the modern student,” Bledsoe said.
Tanner said it was student staff’s idea to add Gator decals to the lockers.
“We want to make sure it’s part of the Gator community and not just something that’s tacked on to the residential environment,” she said.
Once the mailing system unveils all over campus, it may take students time to adjust, she said.
“We anticipate it helping a great deal with the load of the packages coming in and being able to be more efficient for students,” she said. “But, ultimately, when students’ feedback comes in then we can do what we need to do and adjust based of off their feedback.”