Sustainable management grad makes a difference for Georgia-Pacific

UW Sustainable Management student Jessie Johnson is headed toward a successful career. Johnson, who graduated from UW-Green Bay in May, 2018 with a Master of Science in Sustainability Management, landed a job at Georgia-Pacific in 2014. She started as a lab technician while she was still in school working on her Bachelor’s in Integrated Leadership Studies with an emphasis on Environmental Policy at UW-Green Bay. Johnson moved up the business ladder rather quickly, as in 2017, a year after graduation, she entered the Environmental Entry Level Professional Program at Georgia-Pacific in Atlanta. The training enabled endless opportunities; her next role could be anything from an environmental engineer in the air, water, or waste departments to a product stewardship associate position or she could become a member of the corporate sustainability team in Atlanta. She is happy to pursue a career that lines up so well with her educational background. Read more about Jessie’s journey here.

Lucy Arendt to be the next ‘Last Lecture’ series speaker

GREEN BAY – Associate Dean Lucy Arendt is the fourth speaker in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s “Last Lecture Series” line-up, and the first this semester. Arendt will present, “Made to Serve: The Tragic Corruption of America’s Founding Values,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 17.

The Last Lecture Series is part of the celebration of UWGB’s 50th Anniversary. Each month of the fall and spring semesters, a UW-Green Bay faculty member is chosen to give a public presentation on a topic of his or her choice. They are to convey what lecture they would give if it were to be their last. The monthly lectures take place in the University Union’s Christie Theatre, at 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay. The lectures are free and open to the public.

“I think it has become an untested assumption that individual people should give up their rights in order to be employed, and I view this as a serious threat to our nation and to the health and well-being of all individuals,” Arendt said regarding her reason for choosing this topic. “I think that organizations have steadily eroded our collective sense of individualism and responsibility through their relentless focus on bureaucratization. I believe that universities have a special obligation to reverse this disturbing trend. What we need is a shared understanding of this threat and a call to action by faculty, staff, and students — all of whom should and must have a strong sense of ownership and voice in what universities and their communities do.”

Photo: Prof. Lucy Arendt
Lucy Arendt

Arendt has been a professor at UW-Green Bay for 10 years. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UW-Green Bay, and a Ph.D. from UW-Milwaukee. She teaches courses in the Business Administration and the Sustainable Management programs. The published author has articles in the Journal of Academy of Business and Economics, Earthquake SPECTRA, and Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies, among others. She has also co-authored books about natural disasters and recovery.

The following are the remaining “Last Lectures:”

  • March 23 – Steve Meyer, Associate Professor, Natural and Applied Sciences, “Forget the Three T’s: Focus on the Six C’s”
  • April 13 – Phil Clampitt, Professor, Information and Computing Science, “The Magical Connection between Uncertainty, Innovation, and the Human Spirit.”


Sustainable Management graduate focuses on greening NFL franchise

When Cleveland native Alexandria Skoch (pictured with Prof. John Katers) wanted to dig deeper into “greening” her hometown NFL franchise, the Cleveland Browns, she turned to a partner NFL city Green Bay and its hometown University, UW-Green Bay, for guidance.

Skoch graduated a few weeks ago with a master’s degree in Sustainability Management from UW-Green Bay. Her capstone project is “Greening the Browns: Understanding and Analyzing the Environmental Implications of a National Football League Team.”

“My final project focused on the Cleveland Browns’ environmental implications, and a lot of research, observation, and time went in to the final paper,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to experience home games at FirstEnergy Stadium from a behind-the-scenes perspective. This opened my eyes to numerous shortcomings of National Football League teams and the Cleveland Browns. Perhaps most importantly, this project has shown me that sustainability, when viewed through a business lens, is handled through more of a “greenwashing” approach rather than a truly impactful approach. Honestly, there is a lot left to be done in sports sustainability, and although the Green Sports Alliance exists and has numerous resources to help NFL teams become more sustainable, little action has been taken by a majority of teams…”

Skoch’s final recommendations for the Browns focused on fully integrating sustainability into each department, branch, division and location within the organization and hiring an individual who would focus on full integration.

“Unfortunately, for now, like most NFL teams, they will continue to grab the ‘low hanging’ fruit,” she says. “However, I believe that eventually all national sports teams and leagues will be required to meet set environmental impact reduction goals in the very near future.”

Skoch is the the sixth UW-Green Bay graduate out of about 50 enrollees in the relatively new Sustainability Management program. Five University of Wisconsin system institutions carry the program. So how did Skoch find her way specifically to UW-Green Bay?

“I found the UW Sustainable Management Master’s program through a simple online search,” she says. “At the time, I was interested in pursuing a higher degree in the sustainability field, and my undergraduate studies focused on the environmental impacts of business. Therefore, UW’s program was perfect. I also liked that the degree is a master of science rather than a simple one-year MBA and the fact that it was catered to business professionals. After researching the UW Sustainable Management program’s campuses it was easy to see I fit in best at Green Bay!”

Skoch said her faculty member of expertise — UW-Green Bay Professor John Katers — was integral to her success. Working with Prof. Katers quickly dispelled the myth regarding ‘detachment’ of online programs.

“I knew I chose the right campus once I got the opportunity to communicate with him,” she said. “Dr. Katers is always quick to respond and help out in any way. His experience and expertise in a variety of fields helped me tackle a number of issues as I worked through the program. Furthermore, the other faculty members in the program were always willing to assist in any way possible. I think that online education has a sort of bad-reputation for being ‘detached’ from the student, but my experience was the exact opposite. Each of the instructors in the program were quick to respond and were able to help me further understand topics that I, personally, was not knowledgeable on.

“I truly enjoyed the program. It touched on all aspects of sustainability as well as the triple bottom line. Therefore, it was more of a hybrid education than a one-sided program. I also enjoyed the science aspects of the program, as I believe that any sustainability business professional must have a thorough understanding of the science behind environmental impacts.”

While in the program, Skoch took advantage of taking elective credits in a faculty-led travel course to Chile. It was the first time Skoch would meet Prof. Katers in person. What ensued was a 16-day whirlwind sustainable learning opportunity and South American adventure which Skoch describes as “incredible” and “an experience of a lifetime.”

“I truly fell in love with South America and I learned so much about the culture and the environmental issues facing the country today,” she said. “Those who I traveled with became life-long friends, too, especially those who traveled to Easter Island with me. The Chile trip helped truly solidify my path as well, as it opened my eyes to the numerous sustainability and environmental issues the world as a whole faces. I feel that it was an eye-opening experience and it gave me an opportunity to take what I had learned in class and see a real-life example of it.”

As for the future, Skoch said she is looking at a couple of possibilities, including working within governmental agencies or, perhaps pursuing a Ph.D.

“I believe that sustainability or earth sciences and human impacts should be integrated into all science courses and perhaps I can help do just that at the college level.”

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin Sustainable Management degree opportunities by visiting

Photo by Eric Craver, Outreach and Adult Education

First master’s awarded in Sustainable Management

Matthew Christianson of Green Bay entered his name in the UW-Green Bay history book Saturday, May 17, during spring commencement at the Kress Events Center.

Christianson (left) became the first recipient of the new Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Management. Prof. John Katers presented the diploma and assisted with the ceremonial hooding during the ceremony in front of nearly 5,000 spectators and participants.

Christianson completed the online program in less than 18 months. The new master’s is a collaborative effort of UW Extension and the UW System campuses in Green Bay, Oshkosh, Parkside, Stout and Superior. Students choose the school in which they will be enrolled, but take courses offered by each of the member institutions.

UW-Green Bay was a logical choice as home university for Christianson, formerly of Sturgeon Bay.  Following five years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, he enrolled as an undergraduate at UW-Green Bay and earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2012.

Posing for a photo before the ceremony with Katers, Christianson said he intends to pursue a position in the growing field of corporate sustainability, in which companies examine their processes and policies with the aim of meeting consumer expectations for “green” practices. As important, companies want to add green to their own bottom line by promoting reuse and recycling to limit waste. Christianson’s master’s thesis involved best practices in professional sports sustainability, from game-day recycling to front-office and franchise-wide techniques for going green.