This year EPA announced a new student contest (the Campus RainWorks Challenge) wherein “student teams are invited to create an innovative green infrastructure design for a site on their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment”.
Green infrastructure is believed to be a more sustainable approach to stormwater management: “Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage stormwater and create healthier urban environments. While single-purpose “gray” stormwater infrastructure (e.g. catch basins, pipes, and ponds) is largely designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls. By weaving natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure can provide not only
stormwater management, but also heat island mitigation, air quality management, community amenities, and much more”.
So we decided this would be fun and set up an independent study class for the team. Over the fall semester we selected a site, developed a conceptual design, wrote a paper, two posters, and produced a short movie describing our project. Although we didn’t win anything, we had good time and learned much about stormwater issues on campus.