Illinois Green Schools Project
Mentor Info & Registration

Mentor registration for the 2023-24 Cohort is now closed.
Check back here in 2024 to apply for the next cohort!

What is a Green Schools Mentor?

A Green Schools Mentor in the Illinois Green Schools Project is a volunteer with a passion for creating sustainable learning environments and working with schools. Green Schools Mentors are matched with schools participating in the Illinois Green Schools Project, to help them choose, plan, and implement a year-long no-to low-cost sustainability project. Green Schools Mentors should have experience in sustainability and/or green building, and typically have professional backgrounds in architecture, engineering, sustainability consulting, design, building, and more.

How it Works

1. Registration & Pairing

In the Mentor Registration Form, volunteers can describe their specific sustainability background and their comfort levels for assisting with various types of projects. Check out our Project Database for an idea of the types of projects we recommend to schools. Each school is assigned a Green Schools Mentor based on compatibility with their sustainability interests and desired direction for their project. You can also request or be requested by a specific school through the registration form.

2. Meet Your School

Once a mentor has been assigned a school, Illinois Green Alliance staff will organize a meeting between the mentor and the Green Team Leader (the point of contact with the school). During this meeting, we urge mentors and Green Team Leaders to work together to establish a system that works for them. Discuss how frequently you'd like to meet, create some goals and deadlines to keep you on track, and confirm preferred forms of contact.

*Please note that the Green Team Leader is likely a full-time teacher with a very full schedule and many responsibilities. It is the mentor's goal to support their Green Team Leader and share in responsibilities. We also recommend assigning roles and responsibilities to participating students!

3. Plan & Implement

Green Teams get to work designing and implementing their projects! Staff will be on hand to send reminders and offer resources and support, but we allow Green Teams to create their own vision and timeline. Other than a shared start and end date, each project and project timeline will be unique.

4. End of Year Celebration!

Project participants gather virtually to celebrate their accomplishments at our end of year Celebration Event. Schools that won awards for their projects will be invited to showcase their work!

Green Schools Mentors can help in many ways!

Mentors provide guidance and support including but not limited to:

  • Joining their school's Green Team Meetings virtually or in-person.
  • Sharing in project management responsibilities.
  • Helping their school to brainstorm project ideas and scope.
  • Supporting development of project plan and implementation.
  • Researching and identifying useful resources.
  • Teaching their school about benchmarking and how to track and document their achievements.
  • Teaching their green team about grant writing.
  • Helping to keep track of key program dates and school holidays/breaks.
  • Supporting the Green Team Leader in documentation and submission of the project.
  • Providing encouragement to their school.
  • Speaking directly with students about sustainability and green building career pathways.
  • Staying connected to Illinois Green Alliance to share updates with their school.
  • Helping the team to communicate their accomplishments to the school and broader community.
  • Some can even visit the school to provide assistance or participate in project work!

Commitments and Responsibilities

Time Commitment: A Green Schools Mentor will guide an assigned school through project development and implementation for one school year, from late September to early May (approximately 6 months from being accepted into the program).

We estimate that volunteers spend 2-5 hours working with their school each month. Interactions with schools take a variety of forms including phone, email, video conferencing and in-person meetings.

A Green Schools Mentor:

  • Attends the virtual Kick-Off event, mentor orientation, meet-ups, and the end of year virtual celebration.
  • Establishes a system for communication & meetings with their Green Team Leader.
  • Agrees to meet regularly with their Green Team.
  • Provides guidance and support to their assigned school.
  • Optionally participates in training workshops in partnership with the Sustainable Facilities Mentor program to gain background knowledge on sustainability best practices for existing buildings to support their school’s project.
  • Stays connected to Illinois Green Alliance to share updates.

Staff Support

Illinois Green is here to make sure that you have an impactful and rewarding volunteer experience. Green Schools Mentors can reach out by phone or email at any time for help communicating with their school, finding resources for their project, or any general troubleshooting needs.

Registration Check List

Do you have an Illinois Green Alliance membership?

To become a Green Schools Mentor, you must be an active member of the Illinois Green Alliance. Learn more and become a member.

Are you available to participate throughout the school year?

The volunteer position lasts one school year, from late September to early May (approximately 6 months from being accepted into the program). While your specific commitments and schedule will be decided individually between yourself and your school, we estimate that volunteers spend 2-5 hours working with their school each month. Interactions with schools take a variety of forms including phone, email, video conferencing and in-person meetings.

Have you noted key dates?

All project participants must join the virtual mentor orientation on October 13th and the ILGSP Virtual Kick-Off on October 19th to learn about the project, expectations, resources, and meet the other participants. Green Schools Mentors must also attend the virtual end of year celebration on May 22nd. Check the Project Timeline for details.