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Green Infrastructure

Campus RainWorks Challenge

Announcing EPA's 9th Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge!

On this page:Campus RainWorks Logo

About the 2020 ChallengeUC Berkeley

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.

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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 2020 Campus RainWorks Challenge Competition Brief to learn more about the challenge's design categories, submission requirements, eligibility requirements, and other rules for participation. 

To enter the 2020 Campus RainWorks Challenge, teams must submit a registration form. Once a team submits the registration form to it will receive a registration number via email. EPA processes Campus RainWorks registrants in bi-weekly batches. Registration numbers are typically sent out on Mondays and Wednesdays during the registration period.  Registration for the 2020 Campus RainWorks Challenge will be open September 1 through October 5, 2020. 

Participating teams must email their complete entries to by Friday, December 11, 2020, at 11:59 pm EST.

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  • Registration: September 1 through October 5, 2020
  • Deadline for Entries: December 11, 2020
  • Judging Rounds: January through March 2021
  • Winners Announced: Spring 2021

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For the 2020 challenge the first place team 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a minimum number of entries that must register in order for EPA to hold the 2020 challenge?

While we hope to move forward with the challenge as usual we understand that colleges and universities are in the process of adapting to unpredictable circumstances caused by COVID-19. If EPA receives fewer than 25 registrations in either competition category the 9th Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge will be cancelled. We hope for a safe and successful academic year for all faculty, staff, and students across the country.       

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 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 Challenge to 

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. 

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Cooperating Organizations

These cooperating organizations assist EPA with conducting outreach and judging entries:

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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