The Amazon-ification of Scripps College

Cecelia Blum ‘24
Design Editor

Scripps College is a beautiful place, and it’s a place that cares a lot about being beautiful.

That’s why the sign by Honnold Gate calls it an “island of beauty,” and if you’re anything like me it’s probably between 30-50 percent of the reason you came here. It’s why you can’t turn your head without seeing a bubbly fountain (DroUGHt, amirite?). It’s why our trash cans aren’t just regular trash cans, they’re terra cotta trash cans.

Scripps’ commitment to a beautiful campus was one of the reasons I was shocked to find an Amazon locker in Seal Court upon my return to campus this year, erected where a simple white bench had once been. My first thought upon seeing this monstrosity addition to the space was Why? Why Seal Court? Why an Amazon locker as opposed to lockers anyone could ship to? Ever the journalist, I went on the hunt for answers.

I found out that there are actually two Amazon lockers on campus, one in Seal Court and one behind Browning in the Froutt parking lot.

“The Mail Center has experienced exponential package delivery in the past few years and the ability for pickup became limited in terms of storage, space, and pickup options,” said Josh Reeder, Executive Director of Facilities Management and Auxiliary Operations via email.

This is perfectly understandable. As anyone who has waited days for the sweet satisfaction of a package confirmation email knows, the Mail Center is swamped.

In answering the rest of my questions, however, the Scripps representative was vague and evasive, as Scripps administration is wont to be. I asked if they thought the addition of the lockers would encourage students to order more items from Amazon.

“Prior to the Amazon lockers, Scripps installed lockers in the previous Copy Center. The intent was for them to be available for any types of parcels or packages, whether Amazon, another online retailer, or family and friends, for maximum options available to the Scripps community,” Reader said. This response did not answer my question, but okay.

I then asked Reeder if Scripps felt that their organizational values aligned with the demonstrated corporate values of Amazon (a company known for its mistreatment of workers and union busting). I was told via email that Scripps has a “robust procurement policy and process that is actively referenced when making decisions about sourcing.”

What exactly this ‘robust’ policy entails remains a mystery. I was also told that this robust policy was the reason that Scripps installed lockers “that can be used for a variety of vendors and reasons,” which is curious, considering Amazon lockers can literally only be used to pick up packages from Amazon. I have to assume Reeder was referring to the package lockers in Vita Nova, despite the fact that I explicitly asked about the Amazon lockers.

At least I can sleep easy knowing Scripps did not benefit monetarily in any way for the installation of these lockers, and none of our tuition dollars went to installing them, as Amazon did so free of charge.

If you indulge in the occasional or not-so-occasional Amazon order (don’t worry, I do it too sometimes), you can use the lockers by selecting them as the delivery location for your package, and then download the Amazon app to open your locker via Bluetooth. If you don’t use Amazon, you can rest your eyes upon the beauty of these lockers as you sit in Seal Court — so much better than an ugly bench!

Image Source: Aanji Sin ’24