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A package deal: Outsourcing mailing services

Two examples of universities that don't manage their campus mail centers
University Business, July 2017

Not all campus mail centers are actually run by the institution. Yale University’s mailroom, located on campus, is managed by a branch of the USPS.

“The student mail that comes in is handled, processed and given out by U.S. Postal Service employees, not Yale students or Yale employees,” says Donald Relihan, director of support services. Students are responsible for renting their own post office boxes. Under the arrangement—in place for nearly a century—the USPS is a tenant of the university.

The idea of not running your own mail center is just recently starting to catch on with other institutions. Yale also manages a package center for parcels shipped by carriers other than the USPS, Relihan says. But that is also run by an outsourced vendor, Ricoh. The center does not do any outbound shipping and is only a receiving and pickup site.

Another campus that has outsourced mail services for its 3,200 resident undergraduates is Belmont University in Tennessee. The partner? A local UPS franchisee, located just off campus.

This new arrangement, called The UPS Store at Belmont University, is a unique one, says Keith Chapman, director of auxiliary services, as it serves both the community and campus. He sums up the reasoning for the decision in one word: experience.

“The UPS store has demonstrated expertise in package and mail handling; we thought it would be a great fit, especially using a local franchisee,” says Chapman, adding that the old campus mailroom “looked like 1990” and had minimal automation. “It was not keeping up with the volume.”

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