Kate Wernett ’13

Kate had a roundabout way of getting to college. The Rhode Island native left high school early to explore the country and see first-hand what the “real-world” had to offer. She spent the majority of three years driving around the country, passing through 38 states, touring with music festivals, and meeting new people.

Kate was always concerned with protecting the environment and sustainability. Her most eye opening experience was getting to see first-hand the impact humans have on the environment. She says, “It was troubling; all over the country I saw over and over again the ills inflicted on the environment by industry.”

In order to sustain herself on the road, Kate pulled out her entrepreneurial skills and started selling freshly squeezed lemonade at music festivals. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but every day presented a new opportunity to practice the art of using what you have to figure it out and make it work,” she says.

Kate quickly went from selling lemonade to selling everything from breakfast burritos to veggie burgers out of her mobile certified kitchen. Above all, Kate says that her achievement was a result of being adaptable, working until the job was done, and most importantly loving what she did.

While on the road, Kate considered going back to school but no college particularly interested her. While living in California, Kate got a call from her mom who was attending SolarFest, an annual Tinmouth, Vt. event showcasing the possibilities of solar energy. She had seen the Green Mountain College booth there, and knew her daughter would be interested. Not long after, when Kate found herself back on the east coast, she and her mom visited the campus together. From then on, it was GMC or bust.

Kate loved the tightknit community atmosphere. She says, “I could tell GMC was an environment that empowered their students, and I knew this was a place where I could continue to learn and grow.” She was a natural fit. Four years later, she is expecting to graduate with degrees in sustainable business, environmental management, and environmental studies with a focus in renewable energy and sustainable design.

An action-oriented person, Kate dove headfirst into the opportunities at GMC for problem solving including joining the student senate. She became the co-president of the business and economics society and is now the general manager of the student run coffeehouse on campus.

One of the things Kate loves about working in the coffeehouse is that it is an insider’s view of what it is like to own a business. And she says, “It’s challenging too! It has been the perfect opportunity to turn my weaknesses into strengths.” Kate thrives in the team atmosphere and loves working with others to achieve a common goal.

Like most seniors in college Kate is not certain what company she will work for or what her job title will be, but she is certain that she will find herself helping businesses to eliminate their environmental impact and to increase their social responsibility. Kate is excited and ready for the road ahead.

By Sara Bishop '16

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