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For second consecutive year, UF team wins EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

Thursday, April 24, 2014   (0 Comments)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A team of 20 University of Florida students has won first place in a national competition for a plan on how to dramatically reduce stormwater runoff on a 67.6-acre part of campus.

This is the second time UF has won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Campus RainWorks Challenge. To compete in the master plan category this year, the students fromfour colleges chose a watershed in the northeast corner of campus.

"The team was tasked to select and design a campus site of their own choosing, and provide analysis, design, stormwater calculations, proposed maintenance and expected performance data,” said Glenn Acomb, landscape architecture senior lecturer and faculty adviser. "The submittals included a 20-page design brief and a three-minute video that summarizes the project.”

The challenge was created to engage college and university students in reinventing water infrastructure and developing innovative green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution and build resilience to climate change.

This year’s team consisted of 16 landscape architecture students, three engineering students and one fine arts student.

"The most rewarding aspect was seeing the excitement and pride of a team of students winning such a prestigious competition and being the best at what they do,” Acomb said. "Another unique aspect was the decision by students to reach out to a nationally prominent sculptor in Seattle, Buster Simpson, and raise the funds to support his four-day visit and participation as a design critic for the project.”

The team’s design plan centers on a 67.6 acre sub-watershed in the northeast corner of campus, which includes Yulee Pit and Jennings Creek. To engage students with the journey of water, the three-phase plan would transform two detention facilities into campus amenities and highlight the flow of stormwater into above ground pipes and vegetated bioswales. In addition to treating and retaining stormwater and improving groundwater recharge, the team’s plan would improve aesthetics and safety along Inner Road.

Adam McCollister, the team’s project manager and a landscape architecture senior, said he enjoyed working on an interdisciplinary team. "As landscape architects in the real-world, that’s what we do. There’s not a single project where we don’t work collaboratively with a number of allied professionals, as it opens up the doors to possibilities.”

The UF team members include landscape architecture students Adam S. McCollister, Stephanie Bou-Ghannam, Johan Bueno, Kristina Bunyi, Adrienne Campbell, Viviana Castro, Craig Handley, Mark Koenig, Kyle Passeneau, Joshua Roedell, Laura Snider, Jessica Soleyn, Christopher Stidham, Claudia Visconti, Theresa Wymer and Jordan Young; environmental engineering students Tracy Fanara and Kelsie Timpe; agricultural and biological engineering student Natalie A. Nelson; and fine arts student Mario Rodriguez.

The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages students and faculty at the nation’s colleges and universities, teaching green infrastructure principles and design, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and increasing the use of green infrastructure on college and university campuses.

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