EPA Launches Third-Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge
The contest encourages college students to develop innovative approaches to storm water management
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its third-annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a prize contest that engages college students in developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce storm water pollution and build resilience to climate change.
Through Campus RainWorks, teams of undergraduate and graduate students, working with a faculty adviser, develop a proposed green infrastructure project for the campus, showing how managing storm water at its source can benefit the community and the environment.
Since 2012, Campus RainWorks has engaged more than 300 student teams in developing green infrastructure solutions to urban storm water management. Campus RainWorks encourages the use of green infrastructure projects on college and university campuses, trains the next generation of storm water professionals, and develops new knowledge on the performance of green infrastructure.
Registration for the 2014 Challenge opens Sept. 2 and ends Oct. 3. Registrants must submit their entries by Dec. 19. Each winning team will earn a student prize of $1,000-$2,000 divided evenly among student team members and a faculty prize of $2,000 to $3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training. EPA will announce winning entries in April 2015.
Storm water is one of the most widespread challenges to water quality in the nation. Large volumes of storm water pollute our nation’s streams, rivers and lakes, posing a threat to human health and the environment and contributing to downstream flooding.
Green infrastructure decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted storm water from entering sewer systems. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and open space. Green infrastructure builds resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly by reducing the burden on local water infrastructure. Green infrastructure tools and techniques include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement or substitute for “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters and ponds.