This Maine College Is Eliminating Its Mailboxes

And boy, are people emotional about it.

Photo (Cropped) by davidgalestudios on Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo (Cropped) by davidgalestudios on Flickr/Creative Commons

Freshman year at college, few things are as comforting as a care package from home, heralded by a yellow slip in your mailbox. Or even the ritual itself of checking your mailbox with friends, perhaps after a trip to the dining hall, even if you weren’t expecting anything.

That slice of college life will soon be a thing of the past at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, as it becomes one of the first to eliminate its mailboxes, outfitting its nearly complete new dorm building with a “package center,” the Globe reports.

While the number of packages Bates receives has steadily risen—37,000 a year, up between 5 and 14 percent annually since the early 2000s—the number of letters it receives has not. In fact, it’s been a precipitous decline since the late 1990s: up to 5,000 a day, now down to fewer than 1,000.

And so, at the end of the summer, Bates’ mailboxes will shut for good, and boy, are people getting emotional.

“You were never disappointed even to find an empty box, because there was always a cohort of people there,” Nora Demleitner, a 1989 Bates graduate, told the Globe.

“I think it’s sad, but I think it’s the way of the world. What are you going to do? People don’t write letters anymore,” said Joline Froton, who for 27 years was the face of the Bates mailroom.

Meanwhile, lines at the current, makeshift package center can reach up to 40 people, most, if not all, alerted by a notification on their phones.