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Ahead of election season, Frist reinstates notifications for first-class mail

Wall with various posters advertising different student activities.
The University mailroom is located in Frist Campus Center.
Abby de Riel / The Daily Princetonian

As of Feb. 1, 2024, notifications for First-Class mail are back at Print & Mail Services. Princeton students and faculty will now be notified by email upon receiving First-Class mail, which includes “personal correspondence, personalized business correspondence, bills, statements of account or invoices, credit cards and tax forms, as well as lightweight packages that weigh 13 ounces or less,” according to University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss, which includes postage stamps sold by the United States Postal Service used on most personal letters.

These changes come after months without paper mail notifications due to processing software changes and new Frist mailbox numbers, both beginning back in early July. In recent months, some students have complained about the lack of notifications and other processing delays at Frist Campus Center. In particular, some students failed to fill out and return their election ballots on time due to them being unaware that their ballots had arrived.

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“Based on student feedback received this fall, Print & Mail Services has reinstituted email notifications for First Class mail,” Hotchkiss wrote. “Undergraduate students and graduate students with mailing addresses at Frist will receive an email notification when First Class mail has been received and is ready for collection at Frist 110. Notifications will be sent from lockers@princeton.edu, and mail can be collected at the Frist 110 window from Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

Aaron Sked, manager of parcel services and technology, restated the significance of student feedback in driving this decision. 

“We heard that the students were very upset about not getting [First-Class mail notifications] again,” he said. “So we have decided we want to provide a great experience for the students.”

The reinstated notifications do not apply to “periodicals, marketing mail, catalogs, and bulk mail,” according to Hotchkiss. “These items will be held at Frist 110 and distributed with any First Class mail or upon request.” 

The Class of 2027 is totally unfamiliar with paper mail notifications, having arrived on campus after they were terminated. Ava Adelaja ’27 did not know Print & Mail Services did not send paper mail notifications when beginning school last fall. 

“As first-year students, we were never told to check our mailboxes regularly,” she wrote to The Daily Princetonian. The first notification she received at the start of the spring semester alerted her to over ten pieces of mail in her mailbox. 

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This change is especially welcome ahead of the U.S. 2024 presidential election season, for which many Princeton students vote by mail-in ballot, according to Vote100 Co-Head Fellow Genevieve Shutt ’26. Vote100 aims to increase civic engagement on campus.

“We were all a little bit worried about how the changes to [Print & Mail Services] were going to impact this upcoming election,” Shutt said. “But we’re thrilled to know that they’re bringing back these notifications, and students will be told about their mail once it arrives.”

Some students, like Grecia Hernandez Perez ’24, missed the deadline to send in their mail-in ballots this past November due to not knowing it had arrived.

“I don’t think it’s really a regular habit of students to go check their mailboxes. I know it certainly isn’t a regular habit of mine,” Perez said.

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Perez had requested and sent in a mail-in ballot to her home state of Virginia on time each year since arriving at Princeton. This year, as usual, she requested one, but didn’t receive a notification when it arrived.

“The day of the election came, and I realized it was too late to send it in,” Perez said. 

The return of notifications also comes as a relief for some student leaders of campus organizations. Jack Amen ’25, business manager of the Tigertones a cappella group, receives checks from performance venues by mail as part of his role. 

“Having that money to submit is very important for our operations,” he said, noting that the lack of timely notifications was “extremely frustrating.”

According to Hotchkiss, “additional mail and package service improvements are also underway based on student feedback.” 

Gia Musselwhite is an assistant Features editor and News contributor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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