By Robin Gericke, Features Editor
The walk is far. The combinations are easily forgotten. The boxes are empty, save for the occasional CSF invitation or call to donate blood plasma. This is the perspective some students have of the campus post office. Yet others see the walk to CPO as a welcome break from classes or a daily time to spend with friends. They know their combination by heart because they unlock their box everyday to discover letters from home and fun notes from friends. While most students fall somewhere in between these two outlooks on campus mail, CPO is more than just another errand to remember. It is a fun opportunity to connect with other students and offer encouragement, kindness and laughs through the mail.
Whereas sending a text is simply a message between two people, sending mail through CPO requires the work of another person, a worker who sorts and delivers the mail. Eagle Outlet and CPO manager David Trammel and mail clerk Cecile Powers both spoke about the history of CPO, the importance of mail and how students can make their job a little easier.
CPO moved to Hamman-Ray about three years ago after having been housed in the Doddridge-Holland building. Although further removed from main campus, the number of students that check their CPO boxes remains about the same. “There have always been people that won’t check their mailboxes!” Powers said. “The ones that really want their mail are going to come no matter where it is.”
CPO has a monthly average of between 8,000 and 10,00 pieces of outgoing mail. The peak seasons for mail are holidays and the beginning of the semester, when students are ordering textbooks. Since Asbury has no campus bookstore, “that’s been a major increase,” said Trammell.
Students can do their part to make mail delivery easier by checking their CPO box so it doesn’t become too full. “We would like everyone to check it everyday, but once a week is preferred,” Powers said. The mail from USPS mail arrives between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning and by 11 at the latest, it’s all distributed. The campus mail is delivered throughout the day. When sending a pile of campus mail, students should arrange it in alphabetical order by last name to made distribution easier.
Trammell also recommends that students lock their CPO boxes. “When someone’s $20 bill from Grandma goes missing, we’re the ones that have to deal with it,” he explained. Powers added that students can always ask for help if they can’t unlock their boxes. “We are willing to go out and help anyone. Don’t be scared to come in and ask,” she said.
Sending and receiving mail, whether it’s from a fellow student, a long distance friend or a family member, is a great form of encouragement. “There’s a personal touch to a letter, and you can say things you might not say in an email. Actually writing a note to someone else – that’s important,” said Powers. “It’s encouraging to someone else who receives it, although sometimes it’s really encouraging to the person who sends it!”
While sending a text or typing a tweet may be quicker than sending something through CPO, the motivation behind electronic communication can be applied to snail mail – for example, those who love laughing over puns and jokes on Twitter could print out that funny Grumpy Cat picture and send it to a friend through CPO. While it is more work and time, it’s also more meaningful to have a laugh sent through CPO than to skim over a quickly forgotten tweet. Students who are known for sending encouraging text messages can put those words on paper. Receiving a handwritten note of encouragement goes a long way in brightening a friend’s day. Plus, that note can be saved – taped to a wall or stuck in a journal or Bible. A screenshot of a text doesn’t have the same effect.
Senior Calicia Wilson views letter writing as a practice of patience. “Letter writing encourages patience and a longer attention span, instead of a immediate gratification,” she said. Senior Amanda VanNoppen agreed. “The anticipation is part of it too, because when you have to wait for something it’s more exciting,” she said.
“A lot of students do enjoy and appreciate opening their box and getting mail, whether it be from home or someone on campus,” Trammell said. “It’s just a little pick me up for that day.”
*CPO would like to remind students to fill out the green cards in their CPO boxes with their summer address so CPO can forward mail during the break.