UH Sustainability Manager
“I had the great pleasure of working with Ms. Kelly while she served as the Sustainability Manager at the University of Houston. In her tenure in the Office of Sustainability, she helped transform a fledging institution into a real and contributing institution for the university and beyond. Under Sarah’s guidance the role and importance of environmental issues at UH, such as recycling, energy usage, and local food systems gained much greater status and visibility. Her management skills were readily evident in the quality of programs that she supervised, such as the annual sustainability Fest, and in the work of the dedicated students to worked for her. I also had an opportunity to work with Ms. Kelly on a novel project to bring back a historic landscape back to the University of Houston campus.
Ms. Kelly saw a chance to bring back a patch of prairie to the UH campus for the benefit of students, undergraduate researchers, and as a way of promoting more sustainable landscaping on campus. Thus the idea of the Shasta’s Pocket Prairie was born. Sarah led the charge to fundraise for this project, helping raise over $7,000 in just over two months. She also helped organize a multi-departmental team to help establish and maintain the prairie. Ms. Kelly also engaged the university’s public relations team to help tell the story of the pocket prairie. This led to an effective accompanying video and newspaper article. From start to finish, Sarah demonstrated masterfully leadership, organization, and communication skills. Today the Shasta’s Pocket Prairie is a point of pride for the university, the Biology Department, and the Office of Sustainability. It has also sparked other universities to plant their own native landscapes on their campuses and will soon be expand to accommodate more students.” Jan. 20, 2018
– Jaime Gonzalez, Community Conservation Director, Katy Prairie Conservancy
“Words fall short to describe the respect, admiration and appreciation I have for Sarah Minette Kelly. I first met Sarah when I worked under her as communications assistant for the University of Houston Office of Sustainability. I was immediately in awe of the paradox that is Sarah. As sustainability manager, she ran a tight ship, but created an environment that was both relaxed and demanding. She encouraged others to push their boundaries but also created a safe place where everyone could be themselves.
One of the skills I most admired in Sarah was her ability to fuse her creative talents in writing, design and event planning with her vast knowledge of the sustainability field to create successful initiatives. In 2015, Sarah spearheaded the launch of monthly campus sustainability meetups that ranged from waste management and recycling panels to guacamole-making competitions designed to teach attendees about food waste. Sarah also coordinated the University of Houston’s largest annual zero-waste festival. Sustainability Fest. which aimed to educate students, staff and the community of the Greater Houston area on the latest developments in sustainability through exhibitors and hands-on activities.
Although her accomplishments as sustainability manager are notable. the most unique trait that Sarah brought to the table was her management style. Her team consisted of student workers, and she made everyone feel that they had a voice. Sarah gave student employees the opportunity to run with their own ideas and initiatives with her guidance and oversight. She served as a mentor for each and every one of us. and her ability to bring us all together created a tight-knit and subsequently productive department. Most importantly. Sarah truly cared about the wellbeing of her team.
Now a working professional in the environmental field myself, I am eternally grateful for the training and support I received from Sarah throughout my undergraduate career. She taught me about communications, but most importantly, she opened my eyes to things I didn’t even know about myself. It’s easy to say she’s my mentor, but even more than that, she is my role model. Her tenacity and commitment to her dreams is inspiring. Thanks to Sarah’s presence in my life, I was able to re-imagine my own relation to the natural world.” Sept. 7, 2017
– Gabriela Contreras, Communications Associate, Nature Bridge
Green UH Communications Coordinator
“I had the opportunity to work with Sarah as part of the student marketing team on campus and Green UH. She really took the time to thoroughly research green initiatives and add them to the previous knowledge she had about sustainability. What impresses me the most about Sarah is her drive. She is an undeniably hard worker and will go above and beyond to reach the goals she sets. She has something driving her that I think many people lack- passion. I have never met anyone who is so passionate about the environment and promoting the work they are doing. Sarah is truly one of a kind; I look forward to possibly working with her on another project.” January 6, 2012
“Sarah was a great colleague at the University of Houston.We worked on recycling and waste minimization campaigns together at the University of Houston. She showed an exceptional ability to analyze and develop communication strategies for successful initiatives. She is passionate about her work and an excellent organizer. I proudly recommend Sarah.” January 6, 2012
“I taught Sarah in my PR Writing course, and she was among my best students. Her writing skills are exceptional, and she is a consummate professional. She was always on time with her assignments and consistently delivered quality work. Her final project for the course was a press kit for UH’s green initiatives. It was nothing short of excellent. Recently, I learned that the university adopted this work for use a professional communication tool. I am pleased to see that her talents are already being put to good use and know that she has a bright future ahead of her.” February 19, 2012