Want to know what your mom thinks about sharing WesBoxes? Scroll on.
Last week I squeezed my hand into my narrow postal cubicle and found a pretty standard assortment of Wesleyan junk mail: some coupons for Dominos, a direct deposit receipt, some CFA flyers about the so-called “arts.” At the end of the slot was a nondescript envelope. It didn’t belong to me.
If you’ve read Friday’s Argus, you know already that shared mailboxes were a thing before Usdan came along and that they’ve made a comeback due to increasing class sizes. The incoming class gets the outgoing class’s block, which can no longer accommodate the number of students, so recent freshmen have begun to share. But why do upperclassmen who formerly had their own mailbox get subjected to sharing? Any number of reasons: either they went abroad and a dissatisfied student hijacked their spot, or they were simply on the border of two class blocks (read: I don’t fully understand the ins and outs of this process or how these upperclassmen are subjected to sharing later in the Wes game). I was abroad last Spring, so I am now sharing a Wesbox. But nobody told me.
What I wanted to talk about was the pervasive vibes of culpability I got throughout the workings of WesStation. When I went over to ask them about the things in my slot, I started innocently asking about the whys and hows of this system. What followed was sort of an Erin Brokovich-inspired search for truth and justice. One woman sent me downstairs to the package room, only to find myself redirected to Cardinal Technology Center. It seemed no one wanted to go on the record about the sharing of the boxes.
When I finally found someone willing to talk, he claimed to not be “in charge” of the process either (although he is the same man quoted by Anna Susman ’13 of Argus fame) and he sort of spoke in a pretty cyclical way, probably fearing bad press. I soldiered on, trying to make a name for myself as an investigatory journalist, no matter how many friends I lose or people I left dead and bloodied along the way (you get the idea). If the hush-hush tactic is meant to be good for PR, it’s sort of working. But it’s definitely pissing off the affected students (although we’re all pretty affected here).
For more entertainment, see what the parent listserv has to say about all this:
“My daughter [senior] informed today Wes is double assigning mailboxes so her mailbox is now shared with a stranger. I have a real conceptual problem with this. Anyone else hear this from their kid? I will make a call to the school tomorrow.” —mom ’13
“Personally, I think mailboxes should be private. Does anyone agree?” —mom ’14
“I agree. Mail boxes should be private, along with a great many other personal liberties that are no longer protected and likely never will be again. ‘Should,’ of course, is the operative word, here. Unfortunately, after 9/11 and Google, precious little (verging on nothing, by comparison) is private anymore. I don’t think this bothers our sons and daughters nearly as much as it bothers us. Maybe it should (there’s that word again …).” —dad ’16
“Do any of them even use actual mail boxes anymore?? I wonder if this is the issue since there’s so little snail mail these days.” —mom ’15
“I think it’s an issue-mail order medications, birthday cards, the occasional hand-written/crayoned note/picture from younger relatives, magazine subscriptions, extended family who prefer to send old-fashioned cards, lab results from a physician’s office, the rare formal document, post cards, love notes. We definitely need our daughter to have her own mailbox.” —mom ’16
“I don’t think my son cares. He pretty much only receives care packages from home… I’ve never heard of him receiving anything else.” —mom ’15
“No matter what they say, kids still love getting snail mail. Find a dumb greeting card, put in a clipping from the town newspaper or a funny cartoon, add a stick of gum, and send it snail mail. It will make your kid smile in the middle of a busy day.” —mom ’15
“Sorry to say, several things have been stolen from my daughter’s dorm room and no “strangers” have been in there. It is not hard to imagine then that a student sharing a mailbox with another student, unknown to him or her, might experience some theft of mail. A birthday card could seem attractive (reasonable to guess that money could be inside) or a small package. I think it is outrageous to share mailboxes. Where is the privacy?” —dad ’15
“I do not think mailboxes should be shared due to confidentiality.” —mom ’14