UMD students and faculty took second place in the Master Plan Category of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) sixth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national competition that engages college students as the next generation of environmental professionals to design innovative solutions for stormwater pollution. UMD’s entry entitled “Champion Gateway” integrates various green infrastructure practices into a campus entryway and pedestrian corridor adjacent to the proposed Purple Line, a light rail system that will connect Metro service lines and bring increased foot traffic to UMD. Second place teams receive a $1,000 student prize and a $2,000 faculty prize.
The team’s design decreases impenetrable surface area by over 70 percent and increases tree canopy area by planting more than 350 new trees. The design also reduces stormwater runoff by over 40 percent, while removing over 270 pounds of air pollution and sequestering 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. The redesigned site provides environmental and aesthetic value to the College Park campus, and highlights the importance of aligning transportation with water infrastructure planning. Watch the team’s video about their project:
The team was led by Dr. Victoria Chanse, associate professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. “The competition provides a wonderful learning opportunity for students from a variety of different programs to come together to improve and enhance the management of stormwater on the university campus,” said Chanse. “This competition encouraged critical conversations among stakeholder groups as part of this process for the university to envision what sustainable stormwater management looks like in the face of large-scale campus development.” Student participants include: Laura Robinson, Avantika Dalal, Joshua Franklin, Jason Poole, and Jen Ren from Landscape Architecture; Tuana Philips and Joshua Nichols from Environmental Science and Technology; and Gabriel Donnenberg from Environmental Science and Policy.
UMD has a history of excellence in this competition, winning first place in 2014 for a design to treat stormwater next to the campus chapel and in 2015 to retrofit a five-acre parking lot. Last year, UMD took second place for its (Un)loading Nutrients design to transform a campus loading dock and adjacent parking lot into a safer pedestrian walkway, including 6,660 square feet of greenery and 18 percent less impenetrable surface area. This is UMD’s fourth consecutive year as top finishers in this event.
Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in America, conveying pollutants to various bodies of water, contributing to downstream flooding, and threatening public health and the environment. The Campus RainWorks Challenge asks students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the country to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on college campuses nationwide.
EPA plans to announce the seventh annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the summer of 2018. Since 2012, nearly 600 teams have participated in the Challenge. For more information on the Campus RainWorks Challenge, visit http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks.