The University of Northern Iowa’s Green Iowa AmeriCorps program recently received a $1.1 million federal grant that will fund thousands of statewide community environmental service projects.

The three-year grant from AmeriCorps will support 114 service members who will partner with 24 organizations across Iowa to carry out projects in residential energy efficiency, environmental education, land restoration and water quality.Green Iowa AmeriCorps members work on a water quality project.

“The program will further highlight the environmental issues that the state of Iowa faces, while also providing boots-on-the-ground, paid experiences for individuals to be a part of as AmeriCorps members,” said Carmen Finken, program manager for Green Iowa AmeriCorps. “Our AmeriCorps members will successfully address identified environmental community problems in Iowa, including the financial burden created by high energy costs, lack of energy efficiency resources for residents and school districts, and increasing water quality and quantity issues impacting Iowa communities.”

At the end of the first program year, AmeriCorps members will have completed 600 energy audit assessments for Iowa households, 400 weatherization retrofits for households or public structures, and 450 educational programs completed with 4,500 educational participants. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage 2,750 volunteers who will be engaged in 380 service projects related to energy and environmental stewardship.

The grant will be the third three-year funding package Green Iowa AmeriCorps, which operates out of UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education, has received since starting in 2008. The previous three-year grant will wrap up in August and engaged almost 320 members in thousands of statewide projects, including 59 UNI students and thousands of volunteers.

Many of the energy efficiency projects in the previous three years focused on low-income households, while school presentations on sustainability reached 12,000 Iowan students. The Land and Water Stewards branch of Green Iowa AmeriCorps conducted 750 educational presentations and 150 education programs related to water quality monitoring.

“Green Iowa AmeriCorps is one of the longest-standing, farthest-reaching and most impactful community engagement programs at the University of Northern Iowa,” said Eric Giddens, energy programs manager for UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education. “We are very proud of the work that Green Iowa AmeriCorps members have done across Iowa over the last decade to improve energy efficiency in homes, make schools more sustainable, and implement land and water conservation projects.”

Green Iowa AmeriCorps will recruit members both statewide and nationally. Positions are supplemented with a monthly living allowance, healthcare coverage, child care assistance, federal loan deferment, loan interest accrual repayment, professional development funding and a scholarship at the end of service. Interested applicants should email for more information or apply on our website at

As the federal agency for volunteering and service, AmeriCorps brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges. Since the agency’s inception in 1994, nearly 1.2 million AmeriCorps members have served the nation. 


Carmen Finken