Student Housing Management: What’s in the Box?

by: Shad Bookout

It is a question that student housing teams have wondered since the beginning. A box arrives. a resident comes and retrieves it. And then they disappear. They seemed excited to come and get the parcel. The gleam in their eyes as they retrieved the cardboard encased item(s) is unmistakable. So, what is it? What is it that can create such a Pavlovian response in our student residents? There is no one simple answer. Everyone in student housing management is left wondering… what’s in the box?

A Little Something From Home

At one time, this was the majority of parcels arriving into the mail room. Simple cardboard boxes that have been re-used after their original internet arrival, containing a care package from home. Fresh baked cookies from grandma. A sentimental letter from mom. A few photos from dad. All these things we likely portions of the arriving package. Student residents would receive a few every term. But it was nothing like the epic scale we face today.

The Amazon Quandary

Photo from: dailynorthwestern.com

The number one thing taking up space in our mailrooms today is packages from Amazon. They arrive in record numbers on a near daily basis. Sometimes hundreds all at once come through the door. We used to enjoy the arrival of the cheery delivery driver. But now we almost run away in terror when the same individual appears. Mountains of cardboard boxes now infiltrate our once peaceful package centers and the volume is increasing.

So What Is In The Box?

The only way to describe it is… everything. Our residents are ordering nearly everything online. From electronics, to clothing, to the things they need around their apartment, it seems to all be arriving in these cardboard vessels that defy imagination. 1305 just received new glasses for the kitchen while 1701 had new earbuds. 908 has a drone arriving tomorrow and 1907 has had 9 different whatevers arrive this week alone.

Stephen Hawking has spent his entire career as a physicist, attempting to develop a theory of everything. Maybe the answer he seeks is as simple as asking a resident living in student housing: “What’s in the box?”.

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