The number of packages received by Georgetown University’s Residence Hall Offices has increased 58 percent since fiscal year 2005, pushing some RHOs’ resources to their limits.

According to data provided by Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh, RHOs received a total of 116,491 packages in fiscal year 2012, compared to 73,741 in 2005, and the annual total has risen every year in between. The total is expected to grow again in fiscal year 2013 — RHOs across campus have received 46,693 packages since July.

Georgetown University Facilities and Student Housing hires extra staff at RHOs to work during peak delivery times and heavy-volume periods near holidays to accommodate for the volume of packages, according to Pugh.

But an anonymous RHO employee said that the amount of packages has had a negative effect on RHO employees’ work environment.

“We come in and see 300 packages roll in with UPS or FedEx, and we know it’s going to be a cramped next hour or two trying to log, sort and label all these packages in a space that’s already small and crowded,” he said.

University Facilities has taken steps to deal with the rising number of packages, according to Pugh.

“[W]e have made creative use of current space and storage to increase the number of packages that can be held,” she wrote in an email.

For example, the Village C West RHO has been making use of the floor lounge as an overflow area. The RHOs have also added extra package pick-up hours to make it easier for “We are actively searching for additional improvements, knowing that our current spaces are at or near their maximums,” Pugh wrote.

Despite these measures, the RHO employee said there is still a lack of support from the main housing staff.

“While we’re going through this tough time, [the housing staff] seems unsympathetic to the rising problem and unwilling to find a solution other than ‘do your best,’” he said.

In terms of solutions, the options are limited. Building more and larger RHOs is unlikely, according to the RHO employee.

“For the short term, better support and a forward-looking approach from [the Office of Housing and Residence Life] are all we can hope for,” he said.

According to Pugh, the VCW RHO generally receives more packages than any other — around 200 each weekday — followed by the New South RHO. The RHO employee said he believes the high numbers are a result of the concentration of freshmen, who typically receive larger items and a greater volume of packages than upperclassmen, in these dorms.

Students say the increase in packages corresponds to the growing popularity of online shopping.

“For a college such as Georgetown, with few [stores] in close proximity, students prefer the ease of online shopping and the expedient delivery,” Michael Davidson (COL ’15) said.
Alicia Chavy (SFS ’14) said that she buys online because of the high prices of nearby stores and the difficulties associated with getting out of Washington, D.C., to shop
“Everything around Georgetown is so expensive,” Chavy said. “And I don’t have a car on campus to go shopping in Virginia or other areas.”
Davidson said he has sensed some disorganization at his RHO.
“Packages that were supposed to be delivered to my dorm, LXR, were instead delivered to VCW … which is quite a hassle,” Davidson said, adding that this has happened on numerous occasions.

Unlike Davidson, however, Chavy has not noticed a lackluster performance in her RHO in Kennedy Hall.

“From what I have experienced,” Chavy said, “[RHO] has a really good organizational system for its packages.”

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