S. Himmelstein | June 22, 2022

Winners of the 10th national competition initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to engage U.S. college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater pollution have been unveiled. Participants from 35 academic institutions across 24 states competed in EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge.

The University of Maryland earned first place in the Master Plan design category, which focuses on how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus. The submitted strategy explained in the video above is intended to significantly reduce runoff generation rates from roadways and impervious parking lots near the athletic complex on campus. The plan calls for consolidating five existing, surface-level parking lots into a new, multi-tier, green roof-covered parking garage and converting the water pollutant-generating lots into new recreational fields. Cisterns installed beneath these fields will capture up to 7,500 gal of water on rainy days for irrigation and other non-potable uses, the team describes in a video about their proposal.

The winner of the Demonstration Project category, with emphasis on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus, is Florida International University. The team’s entry, showcased in the video below, redesigned a local magnet high school campus to incorporate a variety of green infrastructure practices, including elevating roadways and installing green roofs, to improve water quality, reduce urban heat island effects and mitigate the risk of coastal flooding due to climate change.

Each of these teams will receive a $7,000 student prize to be split among team members and a $3,000 faculty prize to support green infrastructure research and training.