History and Mission

Green Corps founding Executive Director Gina Cummings speaks to the first class of Green Corps trainees.

The mission of Green Corps is to train organizers, provide field support for today’s critical environmental campaigns, and graduate activists who possess the skills, temperament, and commitment to fight and win tomorrow’s environmental battles.

Following Earth Day 1990, a wave of environmentally minded college graduates left academia looking for a way to put their values to work. Since most environmental organizations were looking for experienced staff, few opportunities were available for these recent grads.

In 1992, U.S. PIRG, the Federation of State PIRGs, launched Green Corps as a graduate school for environmental organizers - with a difference. This program not only gave participants a solid academic grounding in their field of choice; it provided concrete field experience, established relationships between the participants and the major environmental organizations they hoped to serve in, and even paid participants to enable them to engage full-time in their chosen work.

The one-year Green Corps program intersperses intensive classroom instruction with multiple campaign efforts. Trainees gain hands-on experience running field campaigns to win environmental protections and public health initiatives. Throughout the year, each trainee receives specific individualized feedback on all aspects of his or her work, as
well as local mentorship from environmental organizers throughout the nation. At the end of the training, the Green Corps program facilitates trainees' placement in permanent positions with leading environmental and social change groups.