Notre Dame’s Office of General Counsel has taken strides towards sustainability by switching from paper to electronic Conflict of Interest forms. The Conflict of Interest forms are reviewed by the Office of General Council to help the University identify potential conflicts employees have with the University’s mission that would “constitute a Conflict of Interest in the execution of their duties.”
In the past, all 5,000+ full-time faculty and staff have been required to fill out paper Conflict of Interest forms. This year, a new electronic system using the OnBase software will mean paper, ink and toner savings. Mia Reini at the Office of General Counsel said the office “decided to go paperless to streamline efforts in the routing of the processing of the forms and because electronic forms save file space in offices all across the campus.”
The Office of General Counsel is not the first university office to realize significant environmental and economic benefits by going paperless. Last summer, the Admissions Office implemented its own OnBase software program, which allowed the office to do away with paper filing. Though the applicant pool was bigger than ever, workloads were made more manageable and efficiency increased. Prior to the summer of 2010, folders for each student applicant were made, which contained a copy of the application, and were then filed. Now, however, online applications are saved and any paper forms that the school receives are scanned into the computer.
The biggest challenge for General Counsel in initiating a new system, Reini says, is “making sure we have a good handle on routing the forms to the right reviewer.” However, the staff in General Counsel feel that the benefits are well worth any challenges. When asked if employees are excited about the new electronic OnBase system Reini’s response was, "Definitely! Everyone can see the benefits of it—both for ease of access and for sharing of information.”