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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Online W-2 forms offer a ‘greener’ option

This is the first year that NMU has offered students the choice to receive their W-2 forms in the online format only; in the past,  employees who got the electronic documents were still given a paper copy as well. Approximately 20 percent of NMU employees elected to receive their W-2 forms in electronic format only though MyNMU this year.

NMU employs between 1,500-2,000 student employees over the course of a year, with 400-800 students on the payroll at any one time. By offering the option to receive only an electronic W-2, NMU saves on printing and distribution costs and decreases paper use. This also prevents the loss of the W-2 forms either by students or the postal service, and prevents theft of the documents.

Lindsey Butorac, who has been NMU’s Human Resources information systems and payroll manager since June of 2010, oversaw this new development.  She said that the most important part of the initiative was insuring that it complies with IRS regulations for electronic W-2s. She said it was an easy proposal to initiate, and is glad people have expressed interest.

“I think it’s a great step forward in the right direction. … We’re trying to look for ways we can be environmentally friendly and save costs at the same time,” Butorac said.

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One of these cost-conserving, convenient methods to stay environmentally friendly is using direct deposit instead of receiving traditional paper paychecks. Around 90 percent of NMU’s nearly 2,000 employees currently on payroll have their checks directly deposited. Only 172 paper checks were printed in the last pay period.

“We’re trying to really push direct deposit. It’s one of our biggest initiatives. It saves us time; it saves the students time,” Butorac said.

Another recent change in Michigan legislation could potentially bring about more changes for student employees. On Dec. 21, 2010, the Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefits Act of 1978 was modified. It now allows employers to mandate that employees either receive checks via direct deposit or on payroll debit cards. This could eliminate paper checks altogether.

Butorac also discussed the possibility of going paperless with employee personnel checks as well.

“We’re trying to really go green and do everything we possibly can online,” Butorac said.

Meghan Kozub, a senior biology major who works in the admissions office, appreciated the new electronic-only option she was offered.

She said she decided to receive her W-2 form online because it’s more convenient and environmentally friendly.

Kozub said she tries to take green initiatives in her daily life, like recycling, walking or riding her bike instead of driving when she can, and purchasing local goods. She admires NMU’s sustainable efforts.

“It’s nice that they’re environmentally conscious and shows forward thinking … it raises awareness. Hopefully more students will follow suit and do what they can,” Kozub said.

Paper W-2s can be picked up in the Human Resources office in the Public Safety building with a photo ID between Thursday, Jan. 20 and Thursday, Jan. 27. After that, they will be mailed to the permanent address on file with the university.

Student employees who chose to get paper W-2 forms this year still have the option to receive them electronically-only next year.

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