Campus jobs can consist of anything from making coffee to filing papers to handling boxes of live crickets.
The mail room staff, maybe one of the most under-acknowledged groups of student workers, deals with a bit more than you’d think. From live bugs to giant packages, their job entails some unique actions down in the basement of the Student Union.
“It’s never a dull moment,” says sophomore Courtney Henson of her job in the mail room. Fellow sophomore Brent Fugate shares this sentiment, adding that the large mail room staff usually stays consistently busy during their hours. Both Henson and Fugate are in their second year as mail room employees, having started at some point during their first year at Capital.
Fugate says that day-to-day operations follow a fairly consistent schedule. During the morning shift, employees gather incoming mail from the United States Postal Service and private shipping companies such as UPS and FedEx, and sort them alphabetically by students’ last names. Employees are also interacting with students picking up packages while the sorting takes place.
Afternoons are primarily for delivering the mail around campus, on what Henson calls the “main run.” Mail is delivered to every building on campus except the residence halls, and additionally, many departments receive their own mail. Fugate says that nearly every office in Yochum Hall gets their own mail as well.
Just because the weather turns cold does not mean that the mail service stops, or even slows down in the slightest. Deliveries are still made no matter the conditions outside, although both Fugate and Henson say that there is a van that is sometimes utilized in case of extreme cold or snow.
As you might have expected, both Fugate and Henson have seen some strange items come through Capital’s mail room.
“Most everything is in boxes so [we] don’t know exactly what it is,” says Fugate. “But sometimes you can … still tell by the box.”
Henson recalls gaming chairs, toilets, lawn mowers, and on one occasion, an entire deck. Heavy and cumbersome items always seem to stick in the minds of those who have to move them.
“We had a 60-pound box of cat litter come through one time,” says Fugate. “That was interesting … ”
Fugate also mentioned projector screens for classrooms as a difficult item. Both Fugate and Henson remember multiple instances upon which boxes of live crickets would come through, meant to feed the reptiles in Battelle Hall’s biology labs.
Although every campus job has its own elements that are only seen by employees, few compare to the balance of essential work and experience that is the mail room.