Campus RainWorks Challenge
Registration for the 11th Campus RainWorks Challenge is now closed. Thanks to all the teams that registered! Entry submissions are due by May 24, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
For all the details see How to Enter on this page. If you have questions, you can submit them to Rainworks@epa.gov.
On this page:
- About the Challenge
- How to Enter
- Cooperating Organizations
- Past Winners of the Campus RainWorks Challenge
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 winners of the 10th round 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.
Learn more from three past challenge teams about How to Infuse Green Infrastructure into Campus Planning
How to Enter
The Campus RainWorks Challenge is open to institutions of higher education across the United States and its territories. Teams that compete are asked to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater pollution and provides additional benefits to the campus community and environment.
Submissions for this year's competition will not be divided into the categories of Demonstration Project and Master Plan. Instead, teams with the support of a faculty will identify a a topic relevant to their own campus; establish goals and objectives to address that topic; and create a design that demonstrates how green infrastructure strategies can meet those goals and objectives while also managing stormwater runoff effectively and providing other long-term benefits.
Check out the official 2023 Campus RainWorks Brief (pdf) to learn more about the challenge's important dates, registration, submission requirements and more!
Registration is now closed.
Participating teams will email their complete entries to RainWorks@epa.gov by May 24, 2024.
- Registration: January 2 - January 31, 2024
- Entries Due: May 24, 2024
- Winners Announced: Summer 2024
The total prize purse is $50,000. The first place team will receive a student prize of $30,000 to be divided evenly among the team members and a faculty prize of $5,000. The second place team will receive a student prize of $12,00 to be divided evenly among the team members and a faculty prize of $3,000.
These cooperating organizations assist EPA with conducting outreach and judging entries:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can the proposed project be off campus?
Teams can choose a nearby elementary, middle or high school as their site. Otherwise all 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 2023 Campus RainWorks 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 2023 Campus RainWorks 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.
Does a team need to show support from campus facilities staff?
Yes. Teams need to show that they have met with facilities staff and have their support.
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.
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.
Where can I find examples of innovative green infrastructure projects?
Here are a few websites that include green infrastructure projects:
Past Winners of the Campus RainWorks Challenge
Since 2011, EPA's Campus RainWorks Challenge has worked with colleges and universities across the country to highlight the environmental, economic and social benefits of green infrastructure. Step up to the challenge and put your school on the map!
Click the map to explore past participants and winners of the Campus RainWorks Challenge, or locate winners by year in the list below.
- 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
To sign up for e-mail updates or ask a question about the Campus RainWorks Challenge, e-mail RainWorks@epa.gov.