Kate M. Nelson, Chief Sustainability Officer
In 2008 the Office of Sustainability at UW-Milwaukee was established as one of the first in the UW System, and has been under Kate’s direction since. She is responsible for planning & managing a variety of sustainability initiatives, including, but not limited to; energy conservation strategies, stormwater management, expansive recycling programs, sustainable purchasing, alternative transportation options, urban gardening as well as engaging the campus students, faculty, and staff through multiple sustainability outreach and educational programs. Previously, Kate was a GIS specialist and project assistant for The Conservation Fund, and worked to preserve and restore critical land areas for MMSD’s Greenseams program that addressed flood management. Her previous research in the sustainable development of Costa Rica, Romania, and Cuba has influenced and aligned her strategies for environmental policy and planning here at home in Wisconsin. Kate holds an MS in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies of UW Madison, as well as a BA in Conservation and Environmental Science from UW-Milwaukee and a previous BA in Theatre and Writing from Cardinal Stritch University.
John Gardner, Program & Policy Analyst
John Gardner is the Office of Sustainability’s Program and Policy Analyst. John worked on UW-Milwaukee’s 2013 STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) submission. As part of the STARS process and all things data, John digitized and analyzed 5+ years of utilities data (electric, gas, water) for over 80 accounts at UWM, and developed UW-Milwaukee’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Scope 1-3 sources. In addition, John drafts energy and emissions reports, assembles all UWM waste and recycling data for the national Recyclemania competition, collaboratively designs Sustainability Office public presentation and booklet materials, and helps out in the gardens. John also works with the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium. John graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Urban Planning from UW-Milwaukee.
Bonnie Halvorsen, Campus Farm Partnerships Manager
Bonnie officially joined the Office of Sustainability as the Campus Farm Partnership Manager in 2016, although she has collaborated with the Office on sustainable food systems projects for years prior. Currently she is directing a complex partnership between UWM, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Cream City Conservation Corps, Institute of Urban Agriculture & Nutrition, Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, Groundwork Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Parks Department, and American Red Cross. This project illustrates why Bonnie’s unofficial title is Chief Complicator. The project provides paid summer jobs to 20 high school students and 5 college students who grow organic local food for UWM’s Restaurant Operations to purchase. Bonnie is a card-carrying foodie and gardener. She believes not only in the therapeutic aspects of eating good food, but also in growing and sharing good food. The Campus Farm Partnership is the fourth start-up project she has managed at UW-Milwaukee. Other start-ups include the Institute for Urban Agriculture & Nutrition, the School of Freshwater Science and the Zilber School of Public Health, for which she was recognized with a 2009 Women of Influence Award. She holds an MA in Health Communication and a Bachelor of Fine Art from UW-Milwaukee.
Andrew Avery-Johnson, Surplus Manager
Andrew joined the Office of Sustainability in November of 2016 as manager of the Surplus program. The Surplus program handles the redistribution, sale, and disposal of equipment, furniture, office supplies, electronics, and other miscellaneous items generated by UWM. As a lifelong devotee to the upcycling, repurposing, and salvaging of goods, Andrew hopes to promote awareness of Surplus, not only within the UWM community, but also the Milwaukee community as a whole. It is his hope that through diligent and passionate effort, more items can be diverted from the dumpster and find homes where they can continue to be of use. Prior to working with UWM, Andrew worked for Hosteling International’s Madison Hostel, and St. Vincent de Paul of Dane County. He holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from UW-Madison, and is an avid cyclist, boater, tinkerer, and board game player.
Laura Stevens, Solid Waste & Recycling Coordinator
Laura Stevens works in the Office of Sustainability as University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Solid Waste and Recycling Specialist. Her passion for recycling drew her away from compliance work in the tea industry and back to UWM to pursue a career in resource recovery. Currently her role focuses on launching the campus’ resource management plan, streamlining hauling services and operations, and increasing recycling in its many forms. Through consistent communication and education, Laura hopes to shed light on the campus’ present waste culture and foster a new one that aligns with UWM’s sustainability goals. Laura graduated UWM with a BA in Anthropology and led multiple recycling and composting initiatives as a student.
Kira Church, Learn.Earn.Grow MKE Crew Leader
Kira is an alumnus of UWM who began working in the Office of Sustainability as a student. After a year of volunteering for the Hoop House compost operation run by the Office of Sustainability, Kira started working as the Campus Compost and Gardens Operations Assistant in the Hoop House. Through this experience, Kira discovered her love for compost, gardening, and environmental education. The following summer Kira served as a site partner for Learn Earn Grow MKE. In this role, Kira helped manage the UWM garden site and organized the harvesting, delivery, and sale of the produce to the UWM Sandburg Café. After graduating with a BS in Conservation and Environmental Science in December of 2018, Kira transitioned to an LTE position in the office as a Learn Earn Grow MKE crew leader. She works with high school aged youth in Milwaukee, teaching about urban agriculture, nutrition, financial literacy, and much more. She is thankful and excited to continue working with youth in environmental education.
Emily Martin, Surplus Assistant
Emily is the Surplus Assistant working with Andrew at the University Services and Research building. Here, she is challenged by having a new relationship with ‘junk’ and ‘excess’. Each day she is learning how to waste, recycle and reuse materials that she is usually unfamiliar with such as furniture, office supplies, and other products unique to a university’s disposal. As a senior Conservation and Environmental Science major, Emily is overall interested in global sustainability and community resilience towards climate change. She is also very entertained by writing, raspberries, and live music. Milwaukee has been her home for over 10 years and she is so excited to be working with her own university at UWM.
Nina Hartwig, Campus Garden and Composting Operation Assistant
Nina is a UWM student currently studying Conservation and Environmental Science. She started off volunteering for the Hoop House back in the fall of 2018 and started working for the Office of Sustainability in the spring of 2019. She works with the gardens and composting operations on campus. Her love for the environment began as a kid and has sparked a passion for low waste and sustainable living as well as fighting climate change. She hopes to be able to combine her passion for sustainable practices with her new position to help create a greener UWM campus.
Alex Theil– Surplus Assistant
Alex joined UWM Office of Sustainability in the summer of 2019. This fall, Alex will be a 4th year student with the intention to major in Conservation and Environmental Science. Alex initially pursued a major in Architecture but switched to CES due to his passion for the environment, outdoors, wildlife, and everything in between. Alex lives by the ideas regarding reduce, reuse, and recycle and strives to promote these concepts as best as he can. Alex hopes to use his passion and education to spread awareness for a sustainable and clean environment.