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News Releases from Region 05

University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Win Top Prizes in EPAs Campus RainWorks Challenge

Contact Information: 
Media Contact: Peter Cassell (Cassell.peter@epa.gov)

CHICAGO (April 22, 2015) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman today awarded the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign first and second prizes in the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge at an Earth Day "EcoJam" in Chicago.

EPA's Campus RainWorks Challenge is a national competition in which college students design green infrastructure plans and projects -- such as rain gardens and green roofs -- to manage stormwater on campus.

"Congratulations to the student teams from UIC and Urbana-Champaign for placing first and second in EPA's national Campus RainWorks Challenge competition to design campus stormwater Master Plans," said Hedman. "These award-winning green infrastructure plans use innovative approaches to capture rain where it falls - to prevent pollution from reaching our lakes and rivers."

EPA launched the Campus RainWorks Challenge in 2013 to help inspire the next generation of engineers, planners and landscape architects to develop innovative green infrastructure systems. The winning UIC and Urbana-Champaign student teams will receive cash awards and each campus will receive funding for faculty research on green infrastructure.

The UIC team was composed of seven students from civil engineering, materials engineering, urban planning and policy, and earth and environmental sciences. The students won first prize for an integrated green infrastructure plan to reduce runoff on the east side of the UIC campus by 25 percent.

The Urbana-Champaign team was composed of 12 students from environmental economics, civil engineering, architecture and landscape architecture. The students won second prize for a plan to expand the current network of green infrastructure on campus to reduce stormwater runoff into Boneyard Creek by over 35 percent.

This year, over 500 college students from 64 teams in 23 states submitted entries in two design categories. Teams included students and faculty advisors from a variety of academic disciplines. Expert judges from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Landscape Engineers and the Water Environment Federation helped EPA evaluate the entries.

The University of Maryland at College Park, Queens College at the City University of New York and Georgetown University are also winners in other Campus RainWorks Challenge categories.

EPA plans to announce the fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge in the fall of 2015.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/campusrainworks.