May 21, 2012

EPA Launches Competition for College Students to Develop Innovative Storm Water Solutions

The Campus RainWorks Challenge encourages college students to develop innovative green approaches to managing storm water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new design competition called the Campus RainWorks Challenge to encourage student teams on college and university campuses across the country to develop innovative approaches to storm water management.

Storm water is a major cause of water pollution in urban areas in the U.S., impacting the health of people across the country as well as tens of thousands of miles of rivers, streams and coastal shorelines, as well as hundreds of thousands of acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds. The competition will help raise awareness of green design and planning approaches at colleges and universities and train the next generation of landscape architects, planners and engineers in green infrastructure principles and design.

Student teams, working with a faculty advisor, will submit design plans for a proposed green infrastructure project for their campus. Registration for the Campus RainWorks Challenge opens September 4, and entries must be submitted by December 14, 2012 for consideration. Winning entries will be selected by EPA and announced in April 2013. Winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,500 to $2,500, as well as $8,000 to $11,000 in funds for their faculty advisor to conduct research on green infrastructure.

In 2013, EPA plans to expand Campus RainWorks by inviting students to design and complete a demonstration project assessing innovative green infrastructure approaches on their campus.

“The Campus RainWorks Challenge will engage students across the country in tackling one of the toughest challenges to clean water and show them the opportunities in environmental careers.”

EPA is encouraging the use of green infrastructure as a solution to help manage storm water runoff. Green Infrastructure uses vegetation, soils and natural processes to manage storm water runoff at its source and provide other community benefits, including economic development.

Green infrastructure is increasingly being used to supplement or substitute for single-purpose “gray” infrastructure investments such as pipes and ponds. The Campus RainWorks Challenge will help encourage the use of green infrastructure projects on college and university campuses to manage storm water discharges.

For more information on the Campus RainWorks Challenge: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/crw_challenge.cfm.

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