Amazon campus store to provide students new, safer delivery option

Rachael Garner/Senior Staff

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Amazon opened a pickup location on the UC Berkeley campus Thursday, making it the fifth campus in the country to have such a location.

The Amazon campus store will provide free same-day shipping to UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, with some limitations. While any Amazon customer can use the pickup location, only those with Amazon Student or Amazon Prime accounts can receive same-day pickup if they order before noon — otherwise, customers will get free one-day shipping.

The shipping location also contains a “media experience,” according to Jon Alexander, general manager of Amazon Campus. The space provides access to TV shows, movies and video games through Amazon Fire that can be watched or played in the campus store for free.

The “media experience” of the Amazon pickup location was designed to fit in with the “vibrant environment” provided by the newly reopened Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, according to Alexander.

The project began with a proposal from the ASUC Student Union during the remodeling of Lower Sproul. An Amazon service was a “popular request” in the new student union building, according to Adam Ratliff, communications manager for UC Berkeley. Students were looking for “faster, easier, and safer ways to receive their Amazon purchases,” Ratliff said in an email.

“We are always looking to increase convenience for our customers,” Alexander said. “We think it helps students through convenience, a way to get orders faster, as well as provides a very easy way to return purchases. … It also provides a secure place to hold their purchases.”

The campus also benefits from the Amazon pickup location, Ratliff said, with the school receiving 0.5-2.15 percent of the revenue from each purchase made with the campus store. The money raised will be reinvested into the ASUC Student Union and its associated projects.

According to Alexander, the stores are being developed largely with students in mind. Berkeley residents, however, are also able to use the campus store, as long as they are Amazon customers.

The employees of the campus store are Amazon employees, though Alexander said they are being offered “a pay rate that’s aligned with UC Berkeley’s hourly rate for similar positions.” He noted that Amazon did this intentionally in order to be competitive with campus wages. Employees are currently a mix of students and nonstudents.

In order to pick up purchases from the campus store, customers must go to ASUCstudentunion.amazon.com, instead of the regular site. From there, customers can choose the option to receive their packages at the campus pickup location.

“We’re really excited to be on campus at UC Berkeley and thrilled to be in the new student union,” Alexander said. “I think it’s overall a really beautiful building and it’s great to be part of the portfolio of services that are available to UC Berkeley students.”

Amazon plans to open another staffed pickup location at UC Davis this year.

Anderson Lanham covers student government. Contact her at [email protected].

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that only customers with Amazon Prime or Amazon Student accounts can use the Amazon campus store. In fact, any Amazon customer can use the pickup location, while only Amazon Student and Amazon Prime members receive free same-day pickup if they order before noon.