Students react to post office changes

Grace Bieber / Sun Star

This semester the UAF post office underwent changes, including closing the main post office window after Oct. 1 and installing a “Mail & Go” kiosk, which offers basic mailing services and can be used any time that the post office is open.  A side window for package pickup was opened with operating hours from noon to 3 p.m. These changes are expected to save $25,000 the first year of the change and $42,000 in subsequent years, according to the UAF post office website.

This type of kiosk has been installed at more than 100 locations in the United States, including many campuses and states and has been well received, according to the UAF Post Office website.

“We may add additional kiosks on campus depending on demand and acceptance,” the website said. “Wood Center has already expressed interest in adding one there.”

Some students do not agree with the changes.

“I don’t like it. I’d rather work with people than machines,” Chris Kasanke, a wildlife biology graduate student, said. Kasanke added that he has been avoiding using the new kiosk and that he thinks the new pick-up window is a hassle.

“I like that it accepts credit cards, but I don’t like the fact that it takes a while. The touchscreen is slow,” Beeradine Keyes, UAF psychology program graduate and full-time Center for Alaska Native Health Research employee, said.

“The hours are less convenient; past that it’s not a huge deal at all,” Braden Kalloway, a freshman fire science student, said. Kalloway used the university post office this summer during his internship before the changes had taken place. “They have the machines in Seattle where I’m from so I’m used to them.”

“We’re getting into the groove now, but the first couple of weeks were tough,” Ryan Rostad, senior geological engineering student and post office student employee, said.  The changes initially made more work for the employees and he is concerned about the inconvenience for international students because international packages can no longer be sent from the post office.

Hazuki Fukuda, a junior political science student and exchange student from Waseda University located in Tokyo, Japan had been planning to send a package to Japan next month. “It’s so inconvenient for me. It’s terrible,” Fukuda said.

Josett Ranken, a sophomore international relations student, said that it is an important service for International students who live on campus.

“They should come up with a way to replace it [the international package service],” Ranken said. “It’s not fair to them.”

“It’s sad news for me because I was going to send a package to a friend in the next couple of weeks,” Tegan White-Nesbit, senior Linguists student, said. A friend that she met in Germany during her one-year exchange program sent her a package and she wanted to reciprocate.

“I find that pretty irritating,” White-Nesbit said. She associates the post office changes with other recent changes on campus, including the removal of the Spirit of Alaska bank branch in the Wood Center and the discontinuation of the UAF shuttle service to locations like the West Valley Plaza, which took place Sep. 2, 2014. While it is not as inconvenient for students with vehicles, according to White-Nesbit, pedestrians have to find a way to work a trip to the post office or bank into their schedules.

White-Nesbit said that she has had many good experiences with the post office staff. Visiting the post office had been part of her daily routine and she will miss the social interaction. “It’s a loss, for sure,” White-Nesbit said.

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