US Secretary of Education honors UWM for sustainability efforts

UWM was among the schools recognized Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Education for efforts in sustainability and reducing environmental impact.

It was one of 47 schools, 15 districts and 11 colleges and universities honored at the annual Green Ribbon Schools ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Kate Nelson (holding plaque), chief sustainability officer, joins other UWM officials accepting a Green Ribbon Schools award. With her are, from left: Andrea Suarez Falken, director of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools; Linda Corbin-Pardee, UWM student affairs, student services program manager; John Gardner, UWM Office of Sustainability program and policy analyst; Robin Van Harpen, UWM vice chancellor of finance and administrative affairs; and Adam Honeysett, managing director of state and local engagement, U.S. Department of Education. (Submitted photo)

Kate Nelson, UWM’s chief sustainability officer, said the award was based on UWM’s high achievement in three key areas: reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

“The Department of Education was very impressed with UWM’s efforts in combining health and wellness, curriculum and research,” Nelson said.

UWM’s accomplishments include reducing greenhouse gas emissions at all sites by 10 percent, reducing energy consumption by 27 percent from 2008-2014, averting 16.5 million gallons of storm water each year with cisterns, green roofs and rain gardens, and making a large investment in a bicycle-sharing system, with the 2015 placement of six Bublr Bikes stations around campus.

“This important award reflects UWM’s enduring commitment to sustainability work and the dedication of faculty members, staff and students across many disciplines,” Chancellor Mark Mone said. “As the first UW System school to receive this award, we are proud to lead the way for other Wisconsin colleges and universities in this area.”

Since the award’s inception in 2012, the only other Wisconsin recipient has been Western Technical College in La Crosse.

Top Stories