Next Gen Program

What is Next Gen?

Next Gen is a professional development program of New Buildings Institute for college students, designed to to foster the next generation of diverse buildings industry leaders, and in doing so, bolster inclusivity in the buildings industry at large. Over the course of the 9-month program, students will work with each other as part of a Next Gen cohort and have the opportunity for advanced learning, resume building, mentorship, networking and more.

Our inaugural 2021 cohort included 20 students from all around the United States and Canada. 80% of the students identified as women and 80% identified as people of color. We are thrilled to grow the program with two cohorts (40 students in total) for 2022-2023. Recruitment will begin in Summer 2022.

If you are interested in sponsoring students to participate in the program or becoming a mentor, you can find more information here.

Why Next Gen?

Low-income communities and people of color are most at risk of being left behind by the zero energy and electrification movement, which will likely result in significant financial hardship unless programs are planned with equity at their core. Building electrification policies can have unintentional but harmful consequences for low-income residents and people of color. The industry must be more racially diverse to better ensure all people can access and benefit from building efficiency and electrification measures.

The number of jobs in this industry is also likely to increase in coming years – as a sector, we need to ensure students of color have the knowledge, resources, and relationships to succeed, join leadership ranks, and make high-level decisions that will make buildings both an asset to the climate and a healthy place for people to live, work, and learn.

What Does the Program Look Like?

The Next Gen program will run from October 2022 to June 2023. The program seeks to benefit students through five different avenues: education, mentorship, networking, professional development, and cohort building.


  • Students will follow an ASHRAE curriculum and meet monthly for discussion groups facilitated by industry experts.
  • Students will attend the 2023 Getting to Zero Forum and have access to a multitude of breakout sessions, in-depth workshops, and impactful keynotes and plenaries.


  • Students will meet regularly with a mentor aligned with their professional aspirations to discussion professional development and new developments in their sector of the industry.

Professional Development:

  • Students will have the opportunity to write a blog for the Getting to Zero Forum website.
  • Students will have the opportunity to present a poster at the 2023 Getting to Zero Forum.


  • Students will participate in a special networking activity at the 2023 Getting to Zero Forum.

Cohort Building:

  • Students will develop a peer-support network with their cohort members from all around the country.

Student Testimonials from the 2021 Next Gen Cohort

“The Next Gen program was the highlight of my undergraduate experience. It was an outstanding experience to be able to learn more about things that really mattered to me and find a group of like-minded people who were so passionate about making a difference. Attending the Getting to Zero Forum was a great way to see what people in my desired field could truly do to make an impact on our environment as well as the lives of those living in local communities. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this program to any person interested in clean energy or green building, you never know what you could discover about the world and yourself along the way.”

“The Next Gen program was a priceless experience that I’ll never forget. From meeting and talking to students from around the world, to getting a professional mentor, to furthering my education in sustainability topics, to attending my first professional conference, this program provided me with the connections and essential knowledge needed to begin working towards a career in sustainability. It’s so valuable to me to have so many new professional connections and support behind me before I’ve even graduated. Now, instead of being afraid of the question “what’s next?” I feel excited and confident for the future. I encourage anyone with an interest in sustainability to do the Next Gen program!”

Interested in learning more?

Email Leada Fuller-Marashi at [email protected].