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BOSTON (April 26, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of its tenth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater pollution. This year’s winning projects showcase the environmental, health, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure. In New England, the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus is being recognized for their efforts to mitigate stormwater pollution into Long Island Sound.

“Green infrastructure is essential to building dynamic and thriving communities. When we apply green infrastructure strategies—like those exemplified by the Campus RainWorks winners—projects can meet community needs while supporting clean water goals,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The timing of this competition couldn’t be better, as we celebrate Water Week 2022, the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and begin to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I would like to congratulate this year’s winners and I want to thank the faculty and thousands of students, past and present, that have endeavored to improve their community through Campus RainWorks.”

“EPA New England is proud to recognize UConn’s Avery Point campus for their innovative project that helps mitigate stormwater pollution into the Sound using green infrastructure,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “The Sound is an essential ecosystem that supports many communities, economies, and habitats throughout the region, and we thank UConn for helping to fulfill our mission of protecting human health and the environment.”

EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge invites students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on the nation’s college campuses. This year, 42 teams from across 24 states and 35 different academic institutions competed in the Campus RainWorks Challenge’s two design categories. The Master Plan category examines how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus while the Demonstration Project category focuses on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus.

Region 1 Winner – University of Connecticut (2nd Place Master Plan Category)

The “Ecologic L.I. Sound” entry redesigned the university’s Avery Point campus to mitigate the effects of stormwater pollution on the terrestrial and marine ecology of Long Island Sound. Selected green infrastructure practices emphasized the importance of native species that represent the distinctive character of coastal plant communities. In addition to protecting public health, water quality, and local ecology, the design would create collaborative educational spaces that invite students and the public to learn about the role green infrastructure can play in stormwater management and coastal resilience.

Watch the team’s video about their design.

First place 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. Second place teams will receive a $3,500 student prize and a $1,500 faculty prize.

Since 2012 nearly 800 teams have participated in the Campus RainWorks Challenge. View previous winners and teams here.

Background

Green infrastructure practices include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, habitat conservation, rain gardens, and rain harvesting systems. Utilizing these practices protects local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement or replace “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, tunnels, and concrete channels. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings, and open space.

To learn more about Green Infrastructure in Region 1, please visit: Soak up the Rain

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