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EPA Honors Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners

April 28, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winners of its second annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a design challenge created to engage college and university students in reinventing water infrastructure and developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change, according to an agency press release.

The 2013 challenge winners are: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (1st Place, Master Plan Category); Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (1st Place, Site Design Category); Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (2nd Place, Master Plan Category) and Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS (2nd Place, Site Design Category).

The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure principles and design, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on campuses across the nation. This year, EPA introduced two design categories for the challenge—a master plan category, which examines how green infrastructure can be integrated into a broad area of a school's campus, and a site design category, which examines how green infrastructure could be integrated into a particular site on the team's campus. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students, working with a faculty advisor, developed innovative green infrastructure designs in both categories, showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.

The 2013 challenge winners are:

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (1st Place, Master Plan Category)—The team's design plan centers on a 67.6 acre subwatershed. The campus engaged students by highlighting the journey of water that included two detention facilities that became campus amenities. This took stormwater out of underground culverts and "daylighted" them into above ground pipes and vegetated bioswales. This plan treated and retained the stormwater thus both improving groundwater and the campus aesthetics.

Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (1st Place, Site Design Category)—The team's design plan calls for a stormwater pocket garden in a high traffic area in front of Hale Library that included disconnected downspouts, wet meadows and rain gardens. The system is designed to retain large runoff on the campus property to prevent overflow into the city's system. The plan also incorporates native prairie vegetation, allowing the site to support native songbirds and pollinators and reducing maintenance and irrigation needs.

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (2nd Place, Master Plan Category)—The team's design plan centers on a 15-acre area in the center of campus currently dedicated largely to surface parking. To create new spaces for interaction while demonstrating sustainable stormwater controls, the team proposed the addition of several campus amenities interwoven with green infrastructure. An outdoor amphitheater surrounded by rain gardens, a rain garden system in the shape of a Spartan shield, and a stormwater cistern with glass viewing pyramids are among the proposed green infrastructure features. The team's plan would reduce runoff from large storms by 30 percent and would restore soils and native plant communities.

Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS (2nd Place, Site Design Category)—The team's design plan centers on the 1.3 acre Union Green in the heart of campus. To create a multi-functional space that provides an educational experience, the team proposed a three-phase design. The first phase adds a 1,000-gallon above-ground cistern, an aqueduct, and bioretention pond. The elevated aqueduct would provide visual water conveyance and irrigation, and educate passers-by about stormwater management. Teams from University of Texas at Austin (Master Plan Category), Purdue University (Master Plan Category), Kansas State University (Site Design Category), and University of Maryland (Site Design Category) were recognized as honorable mentions for their entries.

EPA plans to conduct the third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the fall of 2014.

Contact

Sally Grans-Korsh
Director, Facilities Management and Environmental Policy
202.861.2571
E-mail