For many Penn students, 1920 Commons evokes memories of long lines for pasta or expensive healthy snacks at Gourmet Grocer. Now, this campus hotspot has become a lot more enticing. The highly anticipated launch of Amazon@Penn, an on-campus delivery and shipping center for the online retailer, brings new purpose to the centrally located dining hall building.
The new shipping center, which occupies half of the ground floor of 1920 Commons, officially opened its doors to the public May 18 morning following a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by multiple Penn administrators and Amazon executives. Amazon@Penn is the first venture of this kind that Amazon has launched in the Ivy League.
The construction of Amazon@Penn, which began in January and spanned most of the spring semester, is part of a conscious and continual re-creation of 1920 Commons that began in 2011. The introduction of the fireside space in the Starbucks under Commons, the addition of an outdoor patio and now Amazon@Penn have all been part of an active effort to breathe new life into the complex.
The Amazon@Penn facility itself includes lounge areas equipped with study space, power outlets and tables with computer screens for group seating.
“If it wasn’t already a destination before, 1920 Commons will be a true destination,” Vice President of Business Services Marie Witt said.
To have Amazon packages delivered directly to 1920 Commons, Penn students have to link their accounts to Amazon@Penn at penn.amazon.com. Once activated, students can add Amazon@Penn to their online Amazon address book and can then select it as their shipping address when ordering.
When a student’s package is ready for pickup, Amazon@Penn will send an automated notification to the student containing a link to a personalized pickup code. Each pickup code will be connected to one of four self-service kiosks for package pickups, each attached to a secure locker. To retrieve the package, the student simply has to scan the code at the appropriate kiosk and said package will fall into the attached locker.
The whole pickup process should take no more than one to two minutes, Amazon@Penn summer staffer Emily Ricci said.
The shipping center also includes a self-service packing station equipped with free boxes, padded envelopes and tape and additional kiosks specifically programmed for printing return labels. Amazon@Penn staff will be on-hand throughout the day to assist customers.
Unlike the package rooms in Penn’s residential college houses, Amazon@Penn is available to all Penn students regardless of whether they are living on or off campus, Witt said.
Penn students who are Amazon Student or Amazon Prime members can get free same-day delivery directly to Amazon@Penn on a variety of items if ordered before noon, and free next-day delivery if ordered before 10 p.m.
“This is all about students and the greater Penn community and making life more convenient for them,” Director of Amazon Student Programs Ripley MacDonald said.
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