UIC team wins national EPA environmental competition

Students present their winning work for the Campus RainWorks Challenge

Eduardo Munoz, David Klawitter and Curtis Witek present their winning entry in the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services


A master plan for managing storm water on the east campus, designed by UIC students, won first place in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency competition.

The award in the third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge was presented on Earth Day, April 22, by EPA administator Susan Hedman. The contest invited student teams to design green infrastructure projects to manage storm water at its source.

The UIC student team came up with a practical, 10-year plan to improve rainwater management, phasing in improvements gradually and economically and reducing runoff by 30 million gallons.

Winners of the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

The winning team with Susan Hedman, EPA region 5 administrator. L-R: back row Ann Cosgrove, Ben O’Connor, Curtis Witek, Nick Haas; front row David Klawitter, Manny Dominguez, Lisha Wu, Hedman and Eduardo Munoz. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

Emmanuel Dominquez, a civil and materials engineering major, saw the EPA contest as a chance to continue the work he did as a summer intern in sustainability. He asked Ben O’Connor, assistant professor of civil and materials engineering, to be faculty adviser for the team, which also included Annie Cosgrove, a student in earth and environmental sciences; David Klawitter, Nick Haas and Lisha Wu, civil and materials engineering; and Eduardo Munoz and Curtis Witek, urban planning and policy.

Their plan includes replacing flooded lawn with native grasses and plants to save on maintenance, mowing and irrigation, and replacing paving material in parking lots with more permeable materials (for practical and economic reasons, this could be done when upgrades or repairs are already planned).

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