Green as Their Craft

Caitlin Holbrook

Last Monday, all Colgate students received notification via email that the Colgate Payroll Department was “going green,” meaning that the Payroll Department was going to try to limit the use of paper forms used to inform students of their direct deposit pay information. Instead of receiving direct deposit paper pay stubs that communicate their financial information, employees were told that they would now be notified about this through the Portal.

This switch, according to Payroll Manager Patricia J. Blinebry, had been talked about for quite some time, and this semester marks the first occasion it will be implemented.

“It’s been discussed for a while,” Blinebry said. “We’ve been looking into ways of reducing the amount of paper produced.”

During a transition period lasting from September through October, the Payroll Department hopes employees will adjust to the change, before the elimination of direct deposit pay stubs altogether starting in November.

The goal of switching to this online direct deposit notification is to conserve paper as well as the environment. According to Payroll Department records, over 21,000 direct deposit pay stubs are printed annually, and by making this transition, the paper used to create pay stubs need not be wasted. Currently, approximately 300 employed students on average are paid using direct deposit every two weeks, and the Payroll Department hopes to increase these numbers in the future.

“We encourage all employees to sign up for direct deposit,” Blinebry said.

In addition, Blinebry called the new method of accessing direct deposit financial information “convenient and easy,” as employees merely have to log into the portal to view their direct deposit data. In fact, the Payroll Department has already received over 60 authorization forms, which allow employees to make this transition from paper pay stubs to online direct deposit notification.

“We’re very optimistic about it,” Blinebry said. “Students have been very receptive to it, judging by the new [direct deposit] authorizations that have come in.”

Despite the department’s efforts to conserve paper, some critics point out that these authorization forms must be printed out and turned into the Payroll Department, thus wasting more paper.

Blinebry defended the system, however, explaining that employees only have to fill out the authorization forms once. Additionally, Blinebry expressed her hope that these authorization forms would also be available for online completion in the future.

As for what’s next in this Green initiative, Blinebry revealed that the Payroll Department is looking into a system that allows employees to fill out their time sheets online as well.

“We are looking at, and have been for several years, a web time entry system,” Blinebry said. “This system is increasing in popularity. It’s more convenient for everyone.”

This system would likewise be accessed through the Colgate portal and conserve paper. Essentially, the time entry system would eliminate the paper vouchers the Payroll Department currently uses. This would be no small feat, considering that approximately 1,000 student wage vouchers are sent out every two weeks.

With these “green” measures in place, Blinebry is confident the Payroll Department is on its way towards developing more environmentally friendly systems.