Letters, we get letters. Lots and lots of letters. In fact, some 70,000 pieces of mail (including 20,000 interdepartmental items) are distributed at MIT every day.
A new committee has been chartered by Senior Vice President William R. Dickson to look into the mail operation, not because there is a problem but because there may be ways to improve it and possibly cut costs. The group has met four times so far and has toured the mail room and Graphic Arts operations; members have also heard presentations by outside vendors. Members expect to make their recommendations within six to nine months.
Among the topics that the committee will examine are how to curb the rapidly growing volume of junk mail, streamlining overnight mail deliveries and ways to use e-mail more effectively. Members will also review mail equipment needs and look at issues such as educating MIT employees on postal regulations to save money, personal use of postage meters, whether mailing lists are being used effectively and what changes in technology might save money for the Institute.
With the help of the Planning Office, the committee is also conducting a survey of other schools and businesses for purposes of comparing MIT's operations.
The committee is interested in feedback from the community on current mail operations or suggestions for changes and improvements. Readers may send comments to an anonymous e-mail address that has been set up for this purpose:
Committee members may also be contacted directly. The chairman is Katherine Cochrane, the Alumni Association's director of alumni information services and resources. Others on the panel are Melissa Chapman of the Alumni Association, Bruce Bernstein of the Admissions Office, Joe Connolly of the Research Laboratory for Electronics, Elizabeth Cooper of the Physics Department, Michael Cronin of the MIT Press, Ruth Davis of the Communications Office, Dave Lambert from Operations and Systems, Mike McNamara of the Purchasing and Stores Department, Austin Petzke of Physical Plant, Shirley Picardi of the Bursar's Office and Verne Raine from Graphic Arts.
A version of this article appeared in the August 25, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 3).