Houses Get New Mailrooms
Residents Struggle to Open Boxes, Worry About Delivery
Thanks to a new postal delivery system, river house residents accustomed to finding their mail in their entryways are now fumbling with personal combination locks on new house mailboxes.
"These are not engineering students," said Carol A. Finn, assistant to the master of Dunster House. Finn said she has seen many house residents fighting with their locks and unable to access their mail.
Students complain that because the locks spin first to the left and lack handles, unlike the old entry-way mailboxes, they are difficult to open.
"It would be nice if they did work like every other combination lock," said Catherine W. Zipf '94 of Winthrop House. "But I'm not going to stress. Mail is Mail, and I'm still going to get it."
But many river house residents, who did not know their new box numbers until they arrived in Cambridge, are concerned that they might not get all their mail.
"Students are worrying, 'Oh my gosh, will my mail get to me?,'" Finn said.
But Finn said that no mail will be lost. All letters addressed to students' rooms will be forwarded to their new mailboxes, said Finn.
The new centralized mailboxes were installed this summer in Winthrop, Dunster, Eliot, Kirkland, Adams and Lowell Houses to replace the old entry-by-entry delivery system, said Cambridge Postmaster Frank Carbonneau.
Quincy and Leverett recieved the new mailboxes last fall. Mather and the Quad have always had personal boxes.
The procedure was instituted by the Central Square Post Office, which oversees Harvard's mail distribution. The office now delivers mail to the front door of each house, where paid student workers pick it up and distribute it to the mailboxes. Before this year, postal service workers performed that task, Carbonneau said.
Carbonneau said that by next fall the entire College, including first-year dorms, will operate under the new system.
Harvard and Yale are two of the last universities in the country with dorm delivery, he said.