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Students who had not moved out from the College Houses could have their items packed and stored or shipped. Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

Students remain frustrated with the process of storing or shipping campus belongings, citing miscommunication from Residential Services weeks after they designated a procedure for letting students retrieve, store, or ship their items home.

On May 21, Residential Services announced that students who had not moved out from the College Houses could have their items packed and stored at no cost or shipped at the student’s expense. Residential Services contracted moving companies to pack students’ rooms and told students that they could schedule video conferences with their assigned moving company during the packing process, an option that Residential Services “highly recommend[ed]” for students that shared living spaces with a roommate.

Students told The Daily Pennsylvanian at the time that they were pleased with the option to video conference while their moving company packed their items.

Now, those who indicated their preference for a video conference said they feel misled and frustrated as they were never contacted. Some students were never contacted by their assigned moving company or were contacted after their rooms had already been packed.

Rising Wharton sophomore Reeya Patolawala said she indicated her preference for a video conference with the moving company in response to a Residential Services form. A June 10 email listed this as an option for students, and Patolawala chose this because she wanted some items shipped to her and others stored. By June 23, she had not been contacted to schedule a video conference, so she emailed her assigned moving company, School Storage, and learned they had already packed her room without her knowledge.

“School Storage will reach out to residents to confirm their preferences for a video conference,” Residential Services wrote in the email. “If you do not schedule a video conference, or you miss that call, the moving company will still move forward in packing and storing your belongings.”

Rising College sophomore Doulton Howe, who planned to video call the movers once the company contacted her as described in the June 10 email, said her moving company never contacted her about any aspect of the move-in process prior to calling her on June 17. She said she was surprised to receive a call from an unlisted phone number.

“I got two calls from a random number from Indiana, and I declined them because I don't accept phone calls from states or places that I don't know,” Howe said. “The number then texted me if I wanted my mini-fridge. There wasn't even an email or a text before that saying they were from the moving company or from Penn or anything. I just said no.”

Like Patolawala and Howe, rising College and Wharton sophomore Ananya Dewan said she felt misled by Residential Services’ announcement about scheduling a video conference. In an email on June 29, her assigned moving company Sinclair Moving & Storage gave her a one-week window in which they wrote to her that they might call her. When she requested a call later in the day because of her time zone on the West Coast, she learned they could not accommodate her request. As a result, she missed the offer to video call.

Some students say they were never contacted at all by their assigned moving company. 

Rising College sophomores Megha Nair and Chase Seklar, who both opted to video conference with their moving companies, said that they have still not been contacted.

Seklar said he felt frustrated with the lack of transparency on the part of Residential Services, which directed students with questions about the process to their assigned moving company. 

“I definitely think Residential Services should be more forthright,” he said. “They’re trying to delegate all the blame and liability onto the moving companies.”

Other students are upset with the lack of coordination between the moving companies and Residential Services.

Rising College sophomore Poojita Chinmay said the lack of communication between Residential Services and her assigned moving company, Sinclair Moving & Storage, prevented her from getting answers to questions she had about how her items would be packed and stored or shipped.

Like Chinmay, Patolawala said she was unsure whether School Storage was aware of Residential Services’ message about video conferencing when she reached out to them. 

“Your email for June 23 is the first we are hearing of your situation regarding the video conference,” School Storage replied to her in a June 25 email. 

Dewan said she wished Residential Services standardized the retrieval process among the different moving companies.

“It would have been nice to have a clear and more transparent expectation for how this process will work, and more of the details of what will be stored and what won't be and the timeline for things as well,” Dewan said.

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