Elon STARS: Registrar’s Office

The decision to remodel and reduce the amount of paper used resulted in a savings of time and money.

Want to know how your office can free up space, save money and use staff time more effectively? It took a little more than a year, but Elon’s Office of the Registrar was able to do it by remodeling and taking steps to reduce the amount of paper used.

When Registrar Rodney Parks started at Elon in January 2013, his motivation for remodeling and going paperless had nothing to do with saving trees and everything to do with meeting people’s needs.

Based on national numbers, Elon has a slightly smaller staff-to-student ratio for registrar offices. Parks wanted to ensure that registrar staff could meet the needs of a growing student body while not being overwhelmed with an unmanageable workload, all within the framework of the current office budget. 

Benefits of the remodel and paperless initiatives include:

  • Students’ needs are met in an open and inviting space
  • Significant savings from purchasing less paper
  • Costs for postage decreased by 40 percent
  • Money saved in paper and postage invested in document scanning software and equipment
  • Increased ability to collect fees for processing transcript requests (from about 60 percent to 100 percent)
  • More space for people as a result of not needing to store paper or paper files
  • Easier time management for staff who can now block off sections of time to work on electronic processes rather than working on requests as they arise
  • Increase in faculty, staff and student convenience since forms can be accessed and turned in 24/7 rather than between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday
  • Elon gained recognition nationally for innovative technologies to improve office processes without increasing the budget

The remodeled space no longer houses a fax machine, and individual desk printers were replaced by a centralized printing system. The registrar staff worked with J.P. Lavoie, multi media developer in Teaching and Learning Technologies, to transition every form to a SharePoint workflow. Additional paper savings were achieved by printing diplomas on a different type of paper, one that doesn’t fade as much reducing the need to reorder diplomas.  

The registrar’s office has received positive feedback about the changes. One key to success was that staff members were adaptable to addressing the concerns of students and faculty. Future plans include offering digital versions of transcripts and multimedia transcripts with stackable credentials. This will allow for content, such as diploma images, course descriptions and final projects, to be linked to a transcript.

Initiatives taken by the Office of the Registrar demonstrate how focusing on the needs and well-being of people can yield more prosperity, a healthier planet and an overall more sustainable Elon University.           

If you would like more details about how the Office of the Registrar made these changes, please contact Melissa Holmes or Nicole Jones.

It All Adds Up

Sustainability is a university-wide initiative, and Elon needs your help to achieve its sustainability goals.

If everyone used one less sheet of paper a day, together Elon would consume 14,183 fewer sheets of paper every day.  On average, in FY 2013 we used 21,918 sheets of paper every day at Elon.

Every year that’s the equivalent of approximately:

8,000,000 sheets

480 trees*

689,767 gallons of water*

Enough energy to power 12 homes for a year* 

*Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator Version 3.2. For more information visit www.papercalculator.org

About Elon STARS: This series highlights actions of Elon community members doing their part to integrate sustainable practices at Elon. STARS also stands for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System used by Elon and other higher education institutions to measure and monitor sustainability in all aspects of higher education. To nominate the next Elon STAR or to learn more, visit or contact us.