Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.65
Liaison John Gardner
Submission Date Nov. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Kate Nelson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Learn.Earn.Grow

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus?:
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above:

The Learn-Earn-Grow MKE (LEG MKE) program provides groundwork for student success by reducing barriers on the path from high school to higher education, and is offered through an innovative partnership through Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). LEG MKE provides high school youth with weekend and summer jobs and job training integrated with curriculum in food science and nutrition, health, business and applied STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) topics, through the lens of urban agriculture. Our students come for the paid jobs, and stay for the fun, exercise, and education. Students see first hand how food is grown, harvested and sold, how it is prepared for healthy meals, and how it finally arrives on the table providing essential food literacy and nutrition education. Additionally, the program builds direct pathways between MPS high school science and health curriculum and the academic degree programs at MATC and UWM. We are fully committed to creating a professional atmosphere for young people of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. At LEG MKE, we are driven by two basic tenets: Education=Power and Food=Health.
Project Mission
The LEG MKE program was created by co-directors Bonnie Halvorsen of Institute for Urban Agriculture & Nutrition (IUAN) and Kate Nelson of UWM Office of Sustainability (OoS) and August Ball of Cream City Conservation Corps (CCCC). In 2017, LEG MKE successfully delivered a pilot program through the M3 partnership (UWM, MATC & MPS), producing food at three urban micro-farms. 20 MPS high school students were hired as Crew Members and paired with five Crew Leaders (UWM and MATC students), who provided sustainable food-based experiential education to build Milwaukee youth’s understanding of the correlation between food and their own health and to prepare them for postsecondary education and career skills. The pilot program, funded by UWM’s 2017 Social Compact Grant, interweaved CCCC’s program framework focused on social justice, environmental justice and personal
health with the IUAN and OoS vision of sustainable food systems and pathways to higher education and careers. Halvorsen, Nelson and Ball are members of MPS’s Vincent High School for Agricultural Sciences (VHS) Advisory Council where VHS Agriculture Lead Teacher Josh Capodarco became a key partner in designing the LEG MKE program. Because the MPS students were hired through Boys & Girls Clubs of
Greater Milwaukee (B&GC) Learn & Earn caseload, Career Development Director Michael Waite became the fifth major partner and co-director. Together, the five co-directors designed a program that trains students in personal health, nutrition and food literacy, conflict management, challenge resolution,
resume writing and interviewing skills, financial literacy, and how to be a valuable worker.
LEG MKE serves MPS youth (16-18 year olds), who are students of VHS and Washington High School for Technology Sciences (WHS). These students live in the Granville and Sherman Park neighborhoods where most qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. Educational and economic resources available to these students are limited and reinforces the need to develop food literacy, personal health and nutrition, and job training skills.
LEG MKE takes social justice very seriously, and cultivates a work environment that encourages fairness, teamwork, and respect among all staff members and volunteers. We are firmly committed to maintaining a work atmosphere in which people of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles may grow personally and professionally, and we strictly follow the UWM equal opportunity employment practices. We define diversity in the broadest sense (e.g. culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, experience, opinions) and believe that diversity provides richness and strength to all our lives.
Program Description
The MPS students served by the LEG MKE program have little or no experience as an employee or co-worker as they prepare for graduation. Most don’t know how to receive a paycheck or deposit it in a bank account or to set up a personal budget. Most don’t know that a tomato comes from a seed, or that it is a rich source of vitamin C and potassium, or why those nutrients are good for our bodies, or that you can pick them right off the vine and they taste amazing! Most of our students don’t spend much time outside and in nature, don’t understand how plants grow, or why they are good for our planet and our bodies. While some of these topics are taught in MPS curriculum, some schools are more difficult to learn and study in than others. At VHS and WHS, there are constant behavioral disruptions, there is need for a high level of security and safety, teachers and classrooms are under-resourced and “making do” is often the strategy to meeting curriculum requirements. It is not surprising that so many students don’t graduate (VHS graduates only approximately 60% of its student body), and most do not imagine themselves going on to college or tech school after high school as a path to self-empowerment.
At LEG MKE, we practice two basic tenets: Education=Power and Food=Health. As program codirectors,
we know we have been successful when 81% of our Crew Members know which postsecondary school they plan to attend, what subject they will study, and have a solid idea of their career path. We know we have been successful when we see one Crew Member, who recently learned how to harvest kale and pack it for market, teach another that skill; or when the Crew Members’ eyes light up after tasting the garlic kale chips during a kitchen demonstration from kale they grew themselves. The LEG MKE project actively integrates the Education=Power and Food=Health philosophies into an applied learning/working experience. It incorporates basic biology, food science and STEM curriculum taught at VHS and WHS into the activities of sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, nurturing plants, harvesting and selling them, and preparing them in the kitchen, while also learning how to get to work on time, how to follow through on instructions, how to work in a team to accomplish a goal. The growing spaces are at VHS, Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club (walking distance to WHS), UWM and MATC Mequon
campus. While working at these sites, the Crews gain confidence navigating the UWM and MATC campuses, and learn about the degree programs offered, and scholarship and financial aid opportunities for which they qualify. Students gain hands-on job training, college preparation and develop critical life skills, while engaging in community service projects, diversity and equity training, and leadership development. That they get plenty of exercise in fresh air and have quite a lot of fun is just a side benefit.
https://uwm.edu/sustainability/community-engagement/


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Milwaukee Safe and Healthy Streets

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (2nd partnership) (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (2nd partnership):

Milwaukee Safe and Healthy Streets is a broad-based effort made up of stakeholders throughout the Milwaukee area committed to building an active and engaged community. UWM’s Office of Sustainability has been a founding and committed community member in this effort. UWM Professor Schneider from the School of Urban Planning has also been at the table since the start. UWM’s transportation needs are not bound by the campus borders. UWM’s presence is needed throughout the city, to meet the needs of its students, faculty, and staff. Milwaukee SHS is one of the means to represent the university in city planning efforts, as well as show support for other universities and all citizens of the Milwaukee community that want access to safe streets.
In the past year, UWM played a role in helping Milwaukee pass a Complete Streets Policy through its Common Council. It also helped garner a $370,000 grant to make systems change with MKE's Department of Public Works for health & equity in active transportation.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
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Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
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Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
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Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (3rd partnership):
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Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (3rd partnership) (Yes, No, or Unknown):
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A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (3rd partnership):
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A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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UW-Milwaukee partners with numerous non-profit agencies, governmental offices, public and private schools to fulfill its civic mission. The Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership and Research provides an excellent list of community partners at https://uwm.edu/community/community/community-partner-map/

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