Katlyn volunteered with the Office of Sustainability beginning in the fall of 2014 and began as a Garden and Compost Operator along with Matt Rudman in September 2015. Katlyn was inspired by the creative projects in maintaining the Hoop House and making a difference with each food scrap pick up.  Katlyn got her earth-loving roots from her years attending and counseling Girl Scout Camp. She has a history with community volunteering and outreach and hopes to bring that interest into her work with the Hoop House. This year she hopes to incorporate more people into what goes on out in the Hoop House.  Katlyn is finishing a Bachelors of Science Degree in Conservation and Environmental Science and minors in Biology and Geography. 

UWM Footprint

UWM Guiding Values

…Stewardship of resources that promote sustainability, prosperity, and equity for all in the local and global communities…


The Office of Sustainability at UW-Milwaukee, founded in 2008, assesses, supports, and drives sustainability initiatives across campus operations, student life, and throughout academic affairs.  By building cross campus and community collaborations, integrating sustainability into campus planning initiatives, assessing impacts over the long term, and working from our own sense of place and purpose, UW-Milwaukee manages its resources wisely and makes sustainability relevant to its teaching and research mission.

Past initiatives include Energy Matters, a campus wide energy efficiency program with Facility Services, supporting stormwater green infrastructure with the School of Architecture, initiating and growing campus gardens with many across the UWM community, bike planning with the assistance of Campus Planning and Community Design Solutions, and multiple outreach programs with the Share the Earth series.

 UW-Milwaukee is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and has recently completed the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).  UWM recieved a STARS Silver Rating in 2013.  See UWM's Sustainability Report here.

Kate M. Nelson, Chief Sustainability Officer

Profile Pick

  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 STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) submission over the last academic year. 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.

Irissa Danelski- Student Project Assistant


Irissa started in the Office of Sustainability in Summer 2014 as the Student Project Assistant. She is working on a student-driven sustainability group within University Housing called Eco Reps, as well as assisting with events and projects. Her love for sustainability started at Conserve School, an environmentally conscious boarding school she attended for one year, and continues today. She is incredibly excited to learn about all of UWM’s sustainability initiatives and be a part of teaching others about UWM and sustainability. She speaks three languages: English, French, and Chinese. She is not quite sure of the specific scenario where speaking English, French, and Chinese will be required within moments of each other, but she looks forward to that day. Irissa plans to travel extensively in the future and hopes to work for an organization devoted to building stable peace in traditionally unstable areas. Irissa plans to graduate in Spring 2016 with a Global Studies – Global Security degree and a Chinese degree from UW-Milwaukee.


Katlyn Pluer, Compost & Hoop House Intern

Matt Rudman, Compost & Hoop House Intern



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