Technical troubles block Hilltop, Garrigus residents from receiving packages

A UConn student walks toward the Hilltop Apartment complex. More than 3,000 students living in Hilltop Residence Halls, Hilltop Apartments and Garrigus Suites have experienced significant delays in receiving packages as technical problems arose in the Putnam mailroom early this week. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

More than 3,000 students living in Hilltop Residence Halls, Hilltop Apartments and Garrigus Suites have experienced significant delays in receiving packages as technical problems arose in the Putnam mailroom early this week.

The computer system used for scanning in packages crashed Monday as officials scrambled to handle an influx of packages for incoming students, according to an official in UConn’s facilities department.

“We are doing our best to get up and running at this excessively busy time of year,” assistant director of building services Tracy Reed said. “We brought back staff a week early to be trained and prep the mailrooms but there is still a heavy burden considering the amount of packages being shipped to students.” 

Mailroom workers were forced to log incoming packages by hand throughout Monday, a process that takes significantly more time, Reed said. However, repairs on Tuesday restored the computers to some degree and allowed for packages to be scanned once again, though Reed says the process is much slower than usual.

As a result, some students remain cut off from any packages that may have been shipped to their dorm addresses.

Ian Fignon, a fifth-semester political science major, has been waiting since arriving on campus to receive various essential personal items, including his textbooks and shoes. He added that keycard access to the mailroom has not been consistent, either.

“I haven't received confirmation or slips for any of my packages ... that were supposed to be delivered,” Fignon said.

Some students have gone to greater extremes to ensure they would receive their personal items in a timely manner.

After being told his wait time could be more than a week, seventh-semester economics and political science double major Brendan Costello halted the shipment of his new laptop Tuesday morning and arranged to pick it up at a UPS facility more than 30 minutes away from campus.

“I need the laptop for class, and I was especially uncomfortable with the idea of it sitting inaccessible beneath a mountain of packages indefinitely,” Costello said. “I now have to hold my laptop, and all future packages, at the UPS facility in Bozrah to ensure I can get them anytime soon.”

The most common complaint from students is that they were not notified in a timely manner of the issues with the mailroom. Costello said he would have simply had the laptop shipped to his house had the university contacted him.

“We were concentrating on dealing with a slow computer system that eventually broke down,” Reed said when asked why students were not notified. “We continue to hand log in packages and are doing the best we can.”

Reed added that she has requested an upgrade for the Putnam mailroom computer system, but that there is no timetable on when that might happen.

In the short-term, though, the power to speed up the process is in the hands of the students – many of whom did not have properly addressed packages.

“We’ve received packages with student’s eBay or parent’s names instead of their proper name,” Reed said. “Make sure when purchasing from a vendor that you delete prior addresses in your account that you no longer use and use the correct address and name to ship the package.”


Kyle Constable is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kyle.constable@uconn.edu. He tweets @KyleConstable.