kateKate 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.


johnJohn 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.


andrewAndrew 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, a UWM alum, returns to campus to help the Office of Sustainability launch a resource management plan, streamline our hauling services, and increase recycling in all its various forms.


Kira ImageKira Church, Campus Garden and Composting Operation Assistant

Kira began her involvement with the Office of Sustainability the fall of 2015 when she began her volunteer work at the hoop house.  She started her employment at the OoS in August of 2016 as the campus gardens and composting operations assistant.  Her love for the outdoors began at a young age with all the camping trips her family would take together.  Kira is currently a junior studying Conservation and Environmental Science.  Her passion is for environmental education and community engagement.  She hopes to carry this over into her work with the OoS by engaging college students as well and young people in the community with the activities that go on in the Hoop House.



Maddie Houchin, Campus Garden and Composting Operation Assistant

Maddie is a senior at UWM studying Biology with a focus in plants and soils. She is currently Vice President of Conservation club and got her start at the office through Conservation Club in early 2016, then began volunteering in the hoop house regularly later that year. In the summer of 2017 she started her employment with the office as a Garden and Compost Assistant. Her interests are gardening, compost, native plants and working with new people. Outside of work you can often find her biking, hiking, camping, taking outdoor naps or hanging out with Conservation Club.