The St. Olaf Post Office has changed the way packages are being processed. The most significant change is the transition to electronic scanning in order to better track packages. Once packages have been scanned into the system upon arrival, students receive an email from the St. Olaf Post Office letting them know they have a package ready to be picked up. The St. Olaf Post Office will no longer use package slips as these email notifications have replaced the physical package slips that were previously placed in P.O. boxes.

This is an interesting, albeit somewhat controversial, development.

“Because now they can scan the package and then it automatically goes into a system for them, it probably doubles their efficiency,” Anthony Valiulis ’19 said. “And it saves paper.”

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this transition from the package slips to email notifications. I have always enjoyed opening my P.O. box and discovering a little red or blue package slip inside. There’s something exciting about not knowing if a package you have been waiting for has finally arrived and then seeing the slip, instantly indicating to you that your package has arrived.

The email notification system is certainly more efficient. In winter, students won’t even have to leave their dorms to check their P.O. boxes to see if their packages are here, although they will still have to brave the elements to pick up the package itself. Now, a St. Olaf student could, for instance, be eating in the caf, studying in the library, meeting with others for a group project or writing a paper when all of a sudden – DING! – they receive an email notification that their package has arrived. Perhaps students will get the same satisfaction from opening an email as opening their P.O. boxes to discover a package slip inside. I suppose only time will tell.

Admittedly, there is the possibility that switching from physical package slips to email notifications will result in more students forgetting to pick up their packages. It is all too easy for a package arrival email notification to become buried in the sea of students’ emails. A package slip in one’s P.O. box, however, is much more visible and harder to lose. This is definitely one possible disadvantage of the transition to keep in mind.

Could this change be another case of “technology strikes again?” Will the change from package slips to email notifications remove the opportunity for a student worker to perform the tedious and time-consuming task of placing package slips into the corresponding P.O. boxes? Maybe. Most likely, the change from package slips to email will simply streamline the package delivery and pickup process, make things more efficient, and allow for happier students. As a student, despite losing the joy of opening my P.O. box to see a package slip, I am confident the email method will ultimately be better than the package slip method.


Daniel Vojcak ’19 (vojcak1@stolaf.edu) is from Naperville, Ill. He majors in environmental studies and political science.