Photo by Mona Mirpour
Students know where to go when they get an email for a package, but not many know what happens between their package’s arrival and the moment it’s in their hands. Sophomore Mia Vu is one of the student workers who make the Mail Center magic happen.
“I started first semester freshman year, so last year. Really, I was just looking for a job, and I was at the package center, and I was like, ‘Do you hire student workers?’” Vu said. “It wasn’t too rigorous or anything, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Although Vu slipped in at the right time, she said hers is one of the most coveted jobs on campus. Because of her short two-hour shifts with lots of organizational tasks and time for homework, Vu loves working in the Mail Center.
“I usually work in the afternoons, so usually if we have packages there that have been delivered, we redmark them,” Vu said. “Basically, you write the last name and the date that it was delivered, and we go and scan it into our system, and then we go put them on the shelf.”
Once someone rings the buzzer by the front counter, if students are there, they go to the window to help students pick up their packages. Student workers, along with the three full-time Mail Center employees, also sell stamps, ship out packages and deliver mail to the Tigers Den.
“Usually when there’s not a whole lot to do because sometimes we don’t get a lot of packages, or there’s not a lot of students because they’re in class, or they’re just not there to pick up their packages, we try to stay busy,” Vu said. “We’ll sort the little tags we have, pair all the ones with multiple tags, or we’ll just do our homework and goof off.”
At the beginning and end of semesters, though, Vu said the Mail Center gets much busier. Mailroom manager Carl Jeffrey attributes this to students sending packages back home and getting textbooks.
“Having [students] help assisting us with the window and maybe even putting up packages, even processing packages, helps us greatly [when the package center gets busy],” Jeffrey said. “That way we can keep up with the other daily stuff we have here. It is quite a lot.”
Junior Hunter Nardiello has been working in the Mail Center since his first year at Trinity. Like Vu, he sees it as a nice job to have.
“I always know what to expect,” Nardiello said. “I know the system pretty well now. It’s just something I’m comfortable doing.”
One of Vu’s favorite parts of working is when she gets to take mail up to the Tigers Den.
“When we take letters, we get to drive a golf cart up campus,” Vu said. “I feel so cool because I’m like, ‘Look at all these plebes walking around. I get to take a golf cart up.’”
Once at the Tigers Den, Vu unlocks the door, goes in and shuts it behind her. With her headphones on with music playing, she does the satisfying task of going down the row of mailboxes filing letters.
Another perk she has is going into the package center to check out her own packages when she’s not working, which is especially helpful on days when there’s a line going out of the door. What she doesn’t see as a perk is being recognized on campus as “the girl who checks out packages.”
“Obviously, we see a lot of people every day, so all the people who I meet for the first time, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, you work in the package center,’ and I’m like, ‘I have no idea who you are. This isn’t helpful.’” Vu said.
At the end of the day, they make sure all packages are scanned in and properly put away before locking up and leaving. Although the Mail Center can get hectic with the shrill buzzer, deliveries and lines of students needing assistance over the radio in the background, Vu said she is happy to have found a job in the middle of it all.
“It’s a really great break from my day,” Vu said. “When I’m not in class, I’m like, ‘Oh, yay, I get to go to work now!’”