EPA fifth annual "Rainworks Challenge" pushes college kids to put their green schemes to work

EPA’s Office of Water today announced its fifth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for undergraduate and graduate students. Campuses nationwide will participate in the challenge to divert stormwater runoff away from the built environment. The EPA notes that green infrastructure strategies "use or mimic natural processes to manage stormwater. They use vegetation, soils, and rainwater harvesting to reduce or eliminate stormwater runoff, help maintain water quality, and create healthier urban environments." So called “gray” stormwater infrastructure—which the EPA notes is catch basins, drain pipes, and ponds—moves urban stormwater away from the built environment and funnels it toward nearby waterways. The runoff carries all sorts of gunk, such as trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants, thereby degrading water quality. The challenge will reward the winning school with prizes in two categories - one for the so-called "master plan" and another for the "design challenge". The EPA states that an individual team may submit to both categories, but must submit "a full and substantially different submission for each category." The design or "demonstration" project category requires a proof-of-concept level design that examines how green infrastructure could be integrated into a site on the team's campus to meet economic, environmental, and educational objectives. In the Master Plan category, submissions should examine how green infrastructure could be integrated into a broader area on campus. For both submission categories, "teams should examine and describe the current and/or potential impacts of climate change on their college or university communities," the EPA notes online. The first place team in each design category will receive a student prize of $2,000 to be divided among the team, and a faculty prize of $3,000. The second place team in each category will receive a student prize of $1,000 to be distributed evenly among the team and $2,000 for the faculty advisor(s). To enter, students must register by the end of this month and fill out the form at this link.
For more information, please click here. Photo: Laurie Wiegler, San Francisco Cliff House and Ocean Beach

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