‘Students will notice the pinch’ from USPS price changes


The Sunflower

Underneath the ticking gears of the Morrison Hall clock tower, the U.S. Postal Service WSU contract station operates every single day that the university is open. Despite this, the USPS’ presence on campus isn’t as widely known as it should be.

“It’s not uncommon for graduating students to come in here and put something in the mail for the first time,” said Gordon Murray, one of several clerks employed at the contract station.

“There’s a lot of people who say they didn’t even know we existed,” said Michael Sperlazza, manager of the WSU contract station.

The contract station provides nearly all of the services of a regular post office, including passport services. Services that require access to exchange rates, such as international money orders, are not available. FedEx and UPS shipping services are also available and are heavily discounted.

“A next day letter sent though FedEx with us costs about $10 to $11—that’s about half as much as it would cost to use USPS at another post office,” said Murray.

According to Sperlazza, the outlet can serve anywhere between 100 and 6,800 patrons a day depending on the time of year. The station handled 1,251,972 pieces of outgoing mail during the 2016 fiscal year.

The contract station employs 7 full-time employees and a handful of students.

Murray says that the mail industry is ‘going through a shift.’ That shift is downward.

Some of the drop that has been seen as the WSU contract station is the result of changing procedures at the university.

“We used to send tuition bills to every student enrolled in payment plans every month,” said Murrary. “That was thousands of letters every month. That’s gone now.”

Proposed prices changes will also cause an impact, although the university will likely be more directly affected by this than students. If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the price changes will include a 2-cent increase for First-Class Mail Forever Stamps and a 3.9 percent increase for Priority Mail. Changes would go into effect January 22. These changes are subject to change depending on the verdict from the Commission.

“It’s not going to be a drastic effects because students don’t mail that much,” said Sperlazza. “The university offices that watch budgets closely will notice a difference.”

“Students will notice the pinch with package rates,” said Murray.

Murray encourages anyone with question about mail to visit the WSU contract station, and emphasizes that the station is here to serve everyone, not just WSU students.

“It can be a big headache when your mail doesn’t work right,” said Murray. “We want to help.”