UMD Team Takes 1st Place and Honorable Mention in EPA’s National Campus RainWorks Challenge

Student teams redesign the flow of water and people through north campus and plan a welcoming green gateway entrance to campus

UMD's 1st Place Team and Faculty Advisors

Image Credit: Graham Binder

April 27, 2022 Kimbra Cutlip and Graham Binder

University of Maryland students won first place and received an honorable mention in the U.S. EPA’s 10th annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater pollution. 

In the Master Plan category, the UMD team took first place for their entry, “Future Flows,” which proposed a green infrastructure redesign that would improve the movement of people and the flow of rainwater across 66-acres in the north section of campus. The team’s strategy proposed replacing hard surfaces with green space that would decrease impervious surfaces by 33%, reduce rainwater runoff by an average of 132% and lower the air temperature by almost 8 (degrees). The design limited interaction between cars, pedestrians and bikers by adding 2,300 feet of bike paths and over 2,500 linear feet of pedestrian trails, including a boardwalk nature path along campus creek, which is currently obstructed by trees, overgrown with invasive species, and largely inaccessible.

The EPA wrote that “By examining current and predicted fluctuations in the movement of people and water across campus, the team’s design would revitalize the campus through restoration of site hydrology and create a more resilient and adaptable campus for future generations of students.”

In the Demonstration Project category, the EPA recognized UMD with an honorable mention for the project: “The AgroEcology Gateway Experience,” which would transform the corner of University Blvd and Paint Branch Drive into a welcoming entrance to campus that incorporates a stormwater treatment and reuse system, reforestation, rain gardens, permeable pavement and replaces a parking lot with a green garage with solar panels. Their design would include interpretive signage and serve as a gateway into the Agro-Ecology Corridor while harvesting nearly 70,000 cubic feet of stormwater and reducing more than 1.6 million pounds of carbon use over the next three decades.

The teams were led by faculty advisors Byoung-Suk Kweon, associate professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Michael Carmichael, stormwater Maintenance Coordinator and facilities management, and Peter May, Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology.

Since 2012, nearly 800 teams have participated in the Campus RainWorks Challenge and, UMD teams have won three 1st places, two 2nd places, and two Honorable Mentions.

“Wow, UMD/AGNR is an EPA nationally recognized powerhouse in stormwater thinking and design,” said May. “I can't think of a better way to celebrate Water Week and the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act.” 

Team members presenting the “Future Flows” entry included Masters of Landscape Architecture students Bryn Martin, Kelsey Moody, Hanna Savio, and Bridget Stokes, and undergraduate students majoring in Environmental Science and Technology Anushka Tandon and Isabella Battish.

Team members presenting the “The AgroEcology Gateway Experience” included Battish and Tandon, fellow ENST major Lucy Hayes, as well as Master of Landscape Architecture students Xiojin Ren, Audrey Fann, and Jonathan Mallory.