Kate Runge

Environmental PR

Kate Runge's Story

Runge’s job of promoting her company got much easier at the end of 2013 when her boss, Living Lands and Waters founder Chad Pegracke, was named CNN’s Hero of the Year. Ironically, Pegracke had been a guest speaker at one of the convocations during Runge’s freshman year at Monmouth. “After hearing Chad's story and the beginnings of LL&W, it took me about a half-second to jump on applying when I saw the job offer online,” she said. “Being able to dedicate my life to something with a purpose bigger than me is very meaningful. Everything we do is an effort to help make the Earth a better place. I’m doing something I love. What more could I ask for?” River cleanups are only the tip of the iceberg for LL&W’s programs, and Runge promotes it all, writing press releases, managing social media outlets, maintaining a website and producing design work.

Runge credits an “out of the box” design class she took with art professor Brian Baugh for helping her to see the world differently. Working on her first-ever college art project, she stayed very close to the instructions, then noticed how her classmates had branched out to let their individual styles shine through. “I figured out the lesson I use the most in my job,” she said. “Sometimes looking outside the box, and stretching the task at hand to the farthest boundaries it will allow, is what lets greatness move in. Professor Baugh never allowed me to settle for average with my projects. Who knew that one course could open up a whole new world of thinking and creativity that would essentially aim me toward my career?”

Tying it all together

“Monmouth College gave me the resources to pursue my education in a place that felt like home,” said Runge, who first planned to be a teacher. “I quickly discovered my aptitude for public relations. I truly believe that the small class sizes helped me get the attention I needed to grow as an individual and explore things I never would have before.”

  • 3,750 tons
    A non-profit river cleanup organization based in East Moline, Ill,. Living Lands and Waters has worked on 23 rivers on 20 states and, with the help of more than 70,000 volunteers, has removed more than 7.5 million pounds of trash from U.S. waterways.
  • Trees, too
    Living Lands & Waters also provides educational workshops and has distributed nearly 750,000 free trees through its Million Trees Project, among other initiatives.
Being able to dedicate my life to something with a purpose bigger than me is very meaningful.

Kate Runge ’11
Major: Public Relations