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Green Infrastructure

Campus RainWorks Challenge

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Campus RainWorks Challenge!

On this page:

About the 2017 Challenge

What is the Challenge?

Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution in communities across the United States. The Campus RainWorks Challenge seeks to engage with undergraduate and graduate students to foster a dialogue about responsible stormwater management and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices.

Student teams design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater pollution while benefitting the campus community and the environment.  

  • Two design categories: Master Plan and Demonstration Project
  • Highlights for this year: A video pitch with each submission in both categories; for Demonstration Projects submissions only, a financial viability criteria

Who Can Enter?

College students form teams with a faculty sponsor who meet all eligibility requirements in the 2017 Campus RainWorks Challenge Brief.


Green infrastructure strategies use or mimic natural processes to manage stormwater. They use vegetation, soils, and rainwater harvesting to reduce or eliminate stormwater runoff, help maintain water quality, and create healthier urban environments. Conventional “gray” stormwater infrastructure—catch basins, drain pipes, and ponds—moves urban stormwater away from the built environment and discharges it into nearby water bodies. The runoff carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants with it, degrading water quality. By weaving natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure provides:

  • stormwater management,
  • heat island mitigation,
  • air quality management, and
  • community amenities.

See: Green Infrastructure Basics

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  • Registration: September 2017 
  • Deadline for Entries: December 15, 2017
  • Winners Announced: Spring 2018
  • Stay tuned for 2018 Campus RainWorks Challenge rules: Summer 2018

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How to Enter

To enter the 2017 Campus RainWorks Challenge, teams must complete and submit a registration form.  REGISTRATION IS CLOSED. 

Each registered team must submit one Project Narrative, one Design Board, one Video Pitch and one Letter of Support describing an innovative green infrastructure project for a location on your campus. Participating teams must email their submissions to by Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at 11:59 pm, EDT.  For complete submission requirements, see the 2017 Campus RainWorks Challenge Competition Brief.

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For the 2017 challenge the first place team in each design category will receive a student prize of $2,000 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 $1,000 to be divided evenly among the team and a faculty prize of $2,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there any changes to this year’s competition?

Yes, a video pitch was added and one less design board is required.  In addition, the scoring criteria has been updated to emphasize the quality of original graphics in all parts of the submission both the narrative and design board, and in the demonstration project category, funding viability criteria was added as well.

Can the proposed project be off campus?

No, the project must be based on campus.

Are community and technical colleges eligible to participate?

Yes, all students enrolled at an eligible institution as defined in the competition brief can participate.

Are graduate students eligible to participate?

Yes, all undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at an eligible institution as defined in the competition brief 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:

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 Challege to 

How will prizes be distributed?

EPA will pay prizes via direct deposit. Student prizes will be distributed evenly among  all student team members.  Note that prizes may be subject to federal income taxes. EPA will comply with Internal Revenue Service 1099 reporting requirements. 

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Cooperating Organizations

These cooperating organizations assist EPA with judging and outreach:

American Society of Landscape Architects ExitAmerican Society of Landscape Architects Logo


American Society of Civil Engineers ExitAmerican Society of Civil Engineers Logo


Water Environment FederationExitWater Environment Federation Logo

To sign up for e-mail updates or ask a question about the Campus RainWorks Challenge, e-mail

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