Campus RainWorks Challenge
EPA will be launching the 11th Campus RainWorks in August of 2023. The next competition will start in September 2023 with submittals due in Spring of 2024. There will be some exciting changes to the competition criteria based on past participants’ feedback.
We thank all the past participants and look forward to the next competition! If you have questions you can submit them to Rainworks@epa.gov
On this page:
About the Challenge
The Campus RainWorks Challenge is a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals, foster a dialogue about the need for innovative stormwater management techniques, and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.
“Green infrastructure” refers to a variety of practices that restore or mimic natural hydrological processes. While “gray” stormwater infrastructure is largely designed to convey stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses soils, vegetation and other media to manage rainwater where it falls through capture and evapotranspiration. By integrating natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure provides a wide variety of community benefits, including improving water and air quality, reducing urban heat island effects, creating habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, and providing aesthetic and recreational value. See Green Infrastructure Basics
Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in communities across the United States. The Campus RainWorks Challenge invites students to be part of the solution today and in the future. Check out last year's winners to see how green infrastructure can be used to better manage stormwater runoff, protect public health and water quality, and build resilient communities.
Does your school have what it takes to win? Step up to the challenge.
Read more about a University of Pennsylvania team's project here University of Pennsylvania's Growing Together: The Story of How a Winning Entry is Making a Real Difference to Andres Hamilton School (pdf) and see more photos of this ongoing effort here: Green Solutions are Transforming a West Philadelphia Grade School.
How to Enter
The Campus RainWorks Challenge is open to institutions of higher education across the United States and its territories. With the support of a faculty advisor, teams that compete are asked to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater pollution and also provides additional benefits to the campus community and environment. Teams that meet all of the eligibility requirements can submit entries in two design categories:
- Demonstration Project (site specific implementation of green infrastructure):
- Master Plan (long-term implementation of green infrastructure over a broad area of the team's campus)
Check out the official Campus RainWorks 2021 Competition Brief (pdf) to learn more about the challenge's design categories and past submission, eligibility and participation requirements.
To enter the Challenge, teams will submit a registration form for the next competition in September 2023 and submit projects in Spring 2024.
Participating teams will email their complete entries to RainWorks@epa.gov by a date to be determined.
- 11th Campus RainWorks Challenge will be announced in August 2023
First place teams in each design category will receive a student prize of $7,000 to be divided evenly among the team and a faculty prize of $3,000. The second place team in each category will receive a student prize of $3,500 to be divided evenly among the team and a faculty prize of $1,500.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a minimum number of entries that must register in order for EPA to hold the challenge?
If EPA receives fewer than 25 registrations in either competition category the next Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge will be cancelled.
Can the proposed project be off campus?
With the exception of demonstration projects that are sited at nearby elementary, middle, or high schools, designs must be based on the competing team's campus.
Are community and technical colleges eligible to participate?
Yes, community colleges and technical colleges are eligible to compete. All students enrolled at an eligible institution as defined in the Campus RainWorks 2021 Competition Brief (pdf) can participate.
Are graduate students eligible to participate?
Yes, all undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at an eligible institution as defined in the Campus RainWorks 2021 Competition Brief (pdf) can participate.
Can a student team have more than one faculty advisor?
Yes, having more than one faculty advisor may lead to more multi-disciplinary teams that can offer more comprehensive green infrastructure designs. However, teams must designate a primary faculty advisor to receive the faculty prize if the team were to win.
Can a college or university have more than one team?
Is there a recommended team size?
No, teams can be as large or as small as desired and interdisciplinary teams are highly encouraged.
Where can I find examples of innovative green infrastructure projects?
Here are past winners of the Campus RainWorks Challenge:
- 2021 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2020 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2019 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2018 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2017 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2016 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2015 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2014 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2013 Campus RainWorks Winners
- 2012 Campus RainWorks Winners
Here are a few websites that include green infrastructure projects:
What should my team do if we don't have time to complete our entry?
If you cannot complete your entry, please send an email informing us that your team is withdrawing from the Challenge to RainWorks@epa.gov.
How will prizes be distributed?
EPA will pay student prizes via direct deposit. Student prizes will be distributed evenly among all student team members. Faculty prizes must be deposited into a departmental account under the care of the winning faculty advisor. All prizes are subject to federal income taxes. EPA will comply with Internal Revenue Service 1099 reporting requirements.
These cooperating organizations assist EPA with conducting outreach and judging entries:
American Society of Landscape Architects
American Society of Civil Engineers
To sign up for e-mail updates or ask a question about the Campus RainWorks Challenge, e-mail RainWorks@epa.gov.