Lorena and Jana check teams in to event

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Volunteer Opportunities

It’s all about collaboration. When passionate individuals pool their skills, knowledge, and resources, we can tackle just about anything. IDEAS teams have developed solutions to some of society’s most difficult problems with the help of dedicated volunteers like you.

Every year, our volunteers are key to the success of the IDEAS program. There are many opportunities for your involvement. Some of the roles we need help with are listed below. And, of course, we’d love to talk further about other possibilities to use your creativity and background.

To get started, read about the volunteer opportunities below and submit your application online!


Volunteer Roles


October through March, teams have three opportunities to submit initial proposals. For teams, it’s an incredible opportunity to receive advice and constructive feedback from a dedicated crew of proposal reviewers. For you, it’s an opportunity to get an inside look at the ideas students are working on, and provide feedback on the innovation, feasibility, and impact of their projects. Proposal reviewers look over the proposals individually online and submit comments for the teams. If you are willing to be contacted, sometimes teams will follow up with you to continue the conversation.

This work will be done entirely online, so we welcome reviewers from anywhere in the world! Successful reviewers will be excellent written communicators (English) with experience in diverse fields.

Time Commitment:

  • One training session (in-person or by phone)
  • Three online review rounds (participate in 1 or up to all 3)
  • Approximately 2-5 hours of reading proposals and writing comments each round

Key Dates (2018-19) for Reviewers:

  • Round 1: Submit comments between October 26-Nov 6
  • Round 2: Submit comments between January 18-29
  • Round 3: Submit comments between March 1-11

Event Assistants

Campus‐based events are a key part of our year. We host events on MIT's campus and need helping hands to support the events in marketing, set up, and facilitation. Examples of events include two Generator Dinners, the Innovation Showcase & Awards Ceremony, and the Winners’ Retreat. Throughout the year, we’ll need creative help spreading the word around campus (for example sidewalk chalking and postering), setting up for the events, taking pictures and videos, and much more.

Successful event support staff will be versatile and prompt, with an eye for detail – comfortable moving quickly between setting tables and laying duct tape to welcoming guests and facilitating discussions.

Time Commitment:


Teams are often looking for mentors to help them think through key challenges and opportunities as they develop and implement their projects. To serve as a mentor, we ask that you begin as a Reviewer with the program so we can get to know you and understand your skills/expertise. This will help us connect you with the right teams, based on teams' requests for mentorship in key areas, for example geographic experience, sector specialization, and technical expertise.

Time Commitment:

  • As needed, determined by you and the team
  • Year round

To get started, complete the IDEAS Volunteer Application.