Green Infrastructure

Campus RainWorks Challenge

EPA’s Office of Water is pleased to announce the fifth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for undergraduate and graduate students.

On this page:RainWorks Logo

About the 2016 Challenge

What is the Challenge?Students walking amongst planted bioswales

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

  • Two design categories: Master Plan and Demonstration Project.
  • New this year: Include community engagement as part of your project design. 

Who Can Enter?

Student teams with faculty sponsors that meet all eligibility requirements in the 2016 Campus RainWorks Challenge Competition 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 1–30, 2016    (Registration is now closed)
  • Deadline for Entries: December 16, 2016
  • Winners Announced: April 2017

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How to Enter

To enter, each team must complete a registration form by Wednesday, September 30, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Registration is now closed for this cycle. 

Each registered team must submit one Project Narrative, two Design Boards, 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. 16, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. EST. For complete submission requirements, see the 2016 Campus RainWorks Challenge Competition Brief.

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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)

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.

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 Challenge 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

This year, these cooperating organizations will assist EPA with judging and outreach:

ASLA LogoAmerican Society of Landscape Architects Exit

ASCE LogoAmerican Society of Civil Engineers Exit

Water Environment Federation ExitWEF Logo

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

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