Pitt State’s on-campus post office located at 107 Whitesitt Hall has added smart lockers for mail-pick up available to residence hall students as an added convenience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of D-1 schools have them, so we’re excited to offer them at this level,” said Kevin Elrod, postal services supervisor.
The lockers, from company QTrak, were installed last week and are located right outside the lobby area of the Post Office.
“They are lockers that we put packages in for the students in the residence halls,” Elrod said. “Students are allowed to come in during the hours Whitsett Hall is open and they have access to the lockers right outside our lobby here, they can use a four digit code that’s sent to them to get a package or they can give that code to a friend to come in and get that package, or they can use the My Mail Services app to download and use the app to open a locker if they don’t want to have to touch the kiosk screen to put in the code.”
According to Elrod, the decision to install the lockers this semester was in response to the pandemic as they were funded with COVID relief funds.
“…We decided with the whole Covid situation it would be a nice little feature to put these in..,” Elrod said. “We thought this would be a nice added feature with using the app and everything students are not standing in line outside in our lobby… they can get in and out and not have to stand around.”
The lockers are not specifically assigned to students; instead a software will assign packages that arrive to random lockers where the packages will be placed. Students will get an email or text that their package is available for pick up and upon entering a four-digit code included in the email or using their app, the correct locker will open up and the student can pick up their package and leave.
Elrod said it is important for students to remember to close the locker completely after taking their package.
“If they would please shut the locker completely, it will clear it out and be ready for use for the next student,” Elrod said.
Additionally, students can access the lockers any time Whitesitt is open, even after Post Office business hours.
“I hope it is an added convenience because I know it’s tough to get to the postal services during our hours that we are open,” Elrod said. “(Any Whitesitt) hours they can come in and receive their package and they don’t have to wait in line to get into the post office to pick up their package. They’re free to go right into the locker room, pick up their package, and leave.”
Joshua Meade, sophomore in construction management, used the smart lockers his first week back on campus and said they made the pick-up process much easier.
“It was definitely a lot quicker and a lot easier to put in a code than to have to put in a card, wait for my package, wait for them to take a picture, then finally get my package,” Meade said. “…It eliminates the need to have someone there to pick up your stuff… so it makes it quicker too, if you need it to be.”
Yun-Tzu Lu, junior in psychology, thinks the smart lockers will be beneficial in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
“It is (going to) be beneficial and safe to not only the staff there, but also people who want to get the packages and often need to wait in line there,” Lu said. “Less contact, less chance to get COVID-19. It’s definitely safer and easier to have the new system to get the package by myself.”
Lu also said being able to access the lockers any time also makes the lockers an attractive feature at the post office.
Lu was glad to see the university updating features in various areas in order to adapt to the virus.
“I believe the university needs to update the policy for everything on campus, cause the situation of COVID changes so fast and sudden, and the adaptation that university makes can protect us from the virus,” Lu said.
Meade also thought the lockers were a positive response to COVID-19.
“I think in general this pandemic is teaching us that everything needs to be cleaner and dealt with in a better manner,” Meade said.
Going forward, Elrod expects students to continue to “love” using the lockers and plans to add graphics to the lockers.