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Mills to expand on its campus postal services

The U.S. Postal Service will close its Mills College branch this summer, leaving a vacant spot that the institution’s Mail and Copy Center will move into and use to expand postal services.

Student mailing in their package. (Campanil Staff)

Dean of Student Life Joi Lewis announced to the Mills community last week that the Postal Service station will close, after months of conversations between the two organizations. The government agency is in the process of consolidating postal service nationwide — it released a list in August 2009 documenting 677 post offices for possible closure, including the one at Mills — as a result of large budget deficits due to decline in mail volumne. Right outside Mills’ gates, the community of the Dimond district successfully fought to keep its station from closing last fall.

“As we had all come to learn that, due to the economy and budget cuts, post offices are closing. And we were concerned that we were vulnerable because we were a small postal service,” said Lewis.

Lewis said under the expansion the Mail and Copy Center will relocate to the Postal Service’s current location at Rothwell Center. Over the summer, the space will undergo construction to make room for the Mail and Copy Center’s added services as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agent.

“I think it will be a good move, and I think it will give better services and have better hours for students,” said Vern MacKenzie, Manager of the Mail and Copy Center.

Currently, students who want to send and receive packages must get to the post office by 2 p.m. It is only open on week days as well.

According to McKenzie, students’ mailboxes will no longer be P.O. boxes but will instead be used as private boxes to receive mail.

Some students were confused on whether the announcement meant the post office was closing on campus.

“They made it seem like they were going to shut it down completely,” said junior Laine Janzen, who said she filled out the survey gathering input for postal services that was sent to all residential students a day before Lewis made the announcement.

According to Lewis, the Mills postal service will function as a mail service for both on and off-campus users.

Mail boxes outside the Post Office. (Campanil Staff)

“The Mills postal service will not be a U.S. post office, but we would have all the services as if we were. We will have more services than before,” she said.

The new expansion will also increase more opportunities for student workers to help out at the new mail service center.

”We might hire a couple more,” MacKenzie said. “I am looking forward to the move.”

The current Postal Service staff who work at Mills will be reassigned to a different station, as the Mail and Copy Center staff will take over responsibility of postal services. The expanded Mail and Copy Center will still maintain a partnership with the Postal Service, which will continue to deliver mail to Mills.

During the ASMC Open Forum April 19, students have the opportunity to ask officials questions and relay their thoughts on the change.