This water washed over that really dirty guy you know named Randy
Rain is supposed to fall out of the sky and hit the earth, where the clean water is absorbed by plants and soil. But in a built environment, something very different happens: Rainwater washes across buildings, dirty cars, dirty sidewalks, paved roads, filthy college students and the like, gathering chemicals and pollutants as it goes. The end result is polluted water flowing into storm drains, which is eventually flushed into once-clean bodies of water.
To combat this, the United States' Environmental Protection Agency is holding a design competition called the Campus RainWorks Challenge, which asks students (both undergrad and grad) to design green infrastructure solutions for soaking up rain in built environments, minimizing stormwater pollution.
Student teams are invited to create an innovative green infrastructure design for a site on their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment.... While single-purpose "gray" stormwater infrastructure (e.g. catch basins, pipes, and ponds) is largely designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls.
We know most of you crazy college kids are already into your debauched summertime activites, but hopefully you can stop shotgunning beer long enough to give this competition a good think. Registration's not until September 4th, leaving you plenty of time to sober up, and then you and your team will have all semester to make the mid-December entry period.
First Prize is $13,500 and will be awarded twice—to winners from both a large and small college—but that money is meant to be specifically allocated, with $2,500 going to the students and $11,000 going to a responsible faculty member who will spend it on research rather than Michelob. (Second Prize, also awarded twice, is $9,500 with a $1,500/$8,000 student/faculty research breakdown.) Get involved here.