October 21, 2009

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By Sam Alcorn

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University mailroom is a creepy place — this time of year. With Halloween in the air, the fainthearted may want to consider spending time in a less, well, spooky place.

"Over the years, we've received packages that scream, laugh and make scary, ghoulish sounds. Some tick and shake like something is alive in them," says Mary Scoma, coordinator of student mail services. "We have received packages decorated with pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, zombies and ninja turtles."

The eerie holiday mailroom volume is haunting, if not daunting, with Halloween accounting for more than 2,000 additional packages, according to Scoma.

"The volume is tremendous. A lot of boxes come from costume companies," she says. "And there are packages from the Popcorn Factory, other food items and decorations, too."

And because Halloween falls on a Saturday this year - Oct. 31 - the mailroom is staying open one additional hour to give students time to pick up their macabre and ghastly trick- or treat-related  delights.

(Speaking of eerie, YPulse, a youth-oriented marketing blog, just published a list called "The Top 10 Haunted Campuses in the U.S." In spot No. 5 is Bucknell and the legend of the Hunt Hall ghost that has, allegedly, haunted the building for more than 20 years.)

Back to the mail. A bigger mailroom holiday, no doubt, is Valentine's Day.

"Campus mail goes crazy. Students send little Valentines with candy attached and some groups give us trays of addressed treats to deliver," says Scoma. "UPS and Fed Ex bring boxed flowers besides the candy and fruit gift boxes from on-line companies and, of course, the packages from home. I ask the student workers to come in extra time to help out with all the madness. They always come through."

But the biggest time of the year for the Bucknell mailroom staff is in the fall as the new school year gets underway.

"That takes on a life of its own," says Scoma. "We use an additional 700 cubic feet of warehouse space to accommodate the influx of packages from all over the world. Student Mail Services has packages stacked floor to ceiling and down the halls."

Contact: Division of Communications


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