snailmail

"Snail mail" is an important part of campus life. As such, it's also important how students get that mail, and we should go back to the old way we got that mail.

If you've visited the Campus Business Center in University Hall this semester, you've noticed that how you get the mail has changed drastically, but not for the better.

For the freshmen who never knew the old system, every student had a unique mailbox in the Business Center – one of the hundreds that line the walls. When you received a letter, magazine or anything that wasn't a package in the mail at LMU, your items would be sent there and you'd have to pick it up on your own time.

Now, since the fall semester began, that's no longer been the case.

"Instead of just checking your mailboxes, when we receive mail, we log it into the computer and then it sends the students an email that they received mail," said Kira Watanabe, a sophomore accounting and economics double major and customer service student worker at the Business Center. "Then they come here to pick it up from us with their OneCard."

I guess I understand the reasoning behind this change. How many of us actually take time out of our schedule to run to University Hall on the other side of campus and down three flights of stairs to pick up a few pieces of mail?

This change might be a bit more convenient now that you now know for certain when you have mail. However, the post office doesn't send you text messages when Christmas cards and other personals arrive in your home mailbox, so why is the system at LMU so patronizing?

It isn't as if this is any easier for the people working at the Business Center. Rather than just putting the mail in the mailbox and alerting the student only if they have a slip to go to the Distribution Center for a larger package, they have to alert students for every single piece of mail and individually get it for them in lines.

"As a worker, it's a little bit more work for us because we have to log it in and check it out and give it to them when they come," said Watanabe. "But as a student getting mail, it's more efficient for me because I know when to get the mail."

Admittedly, there is one benefit of this system that could be strong enough to justify this change: a potentially new classroom.

"I think my boss was saying that they're thinking about taking away all the mailboxes and turning that part of the thing into a classroom, because they're always looking for more classroom spaces," said Watanabe.

However, there are still a lot of questions as to how long a plan like this would take to go into effect, not to mention the impact it might have in University Hall. If the construction of the new residential buildings in East Quad was a noise concern, imagine having to hear those same construction sounds during regular lectures, club meetings or study sessions.

I'm all in favor of finding more space for educational opportunities; unlike with the LMU Archaeology Center also located in University Hall, it wouldn't come at the expense of research or hands-on lessons. We'd only be getting rid of some mailboxes, after all.

But this change in how LMU gets its letters needs to be an important conversation on campus, and so far, that hasn't been the case. We need to have an honest discussion about how students get their mail from friends and family, tune into their favorite magazine or newspaper subscriptions and get used to the agency of having to pick up your own mail.

And if I'm the first to start this conversation, I say we bring back the older system.

This is the opinion of Cristobal Spielmann, a sophomore environmental science major from Brentwood, Tennessee. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email editor@theloyolan.com.

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