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Each student has a personal SU Box where they receive campus and postal mail. SU stands for Student Union, because the boxes are located in the student union (first Baxter, now Paresky). They were relocated to the four dining halls during the construction of the new student center and a building number was added to every student's address (Mission Park- Building A, Greylock- Building B, Driscoll- Building C, Dodd House House- Building D). They are now in the new Paresky Center.
To open your box you need a combination which you receive at the beginning of the school year, mailed to your home. If you lose or forget that combination, you can always go to the campus post office and ask about it. It is absolutely free.
Opening your mailbox
Opening your mailbox is a little tricky. You have to turn right three times before stopping at the first number of the combination, then go left passing by your second number once and stopping at it the second time, and then go right again to the third number. Now, push the knob in and turn it to the left and pull the box open.
History of S.U. boxes
S.U. boxes are important to Williams students, so we preserve some history of the time before Paresky mailboxes.
The Baxter mailboxes were about three inches wide by four inches tall -- big enough for a letter, and big enough for a folded magazine or large envelope, but not big enough for the majority of three-dimensional packages. Hence the happily-received package slip bearing the words PACKAGE TOO LARGE FOR BOX. This slip was so popular that the Baxter mail room sold T-shirts bearing these words. The new boxes in Paresky are significantly bigger. This allows students to receive DVDs and other smallish packages in their SU boxes, but it also means that the top boxes are very high up and the bottom boxes are very close to the ground; see WSO discussion on this topic.
It used to be, in Baxter and then in the dining halls (which used the old Baxter mailboxes), that one had to first turn the dial to the left three times until reaching the first number, then to the right, and so on such that everything was "backwards" from a standard combination lock. However, the new Paresky mailboxes turn to the right first, and thus are less confusing for first-years.
Locations during construction
The location of boxes during the Paresky Center construction depended on your geographical location on campus but, contrary to popular belief, did not depend on the cluster you were in. For example, the residents of Spencer, Mark Hopkins, and Bryant all had their mailboxes in Greylock, which would lead one to believe that all members of Spencer neighborhood had their mailboxes there. However, this is not true, as the residents of West had to trek all the way to Dodd to get their mail.