UConn students team up with EPA to make UConn ‘green’
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 23:09
A group of UConn students have come together to answer the call of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Campus RainWorks Challenge.
A product of the U.S. EPA’s Office of Water, the Campus RainWorks Challenge is an ongoing competition between teams of university students to see who can come up with the best design for a innovative environmentally-friendly infrastructure to be placed somewhere on their respective campus that will show how beneficial it can be to manage rainwater at its source.
The students from UConn involved with the project are a coalition of students and some professors working on the Campus RainWorks Challenge.
One of the few students from UConn involved with the project is 5th-semester environmental science major Ashley Drda.
According to Drda, the plan is to minimize the amount of pollutants brought into Mirror Lake by rainwater runoff.
“One of the big problems on campus is the amount of impervious surfaces due to paved roads and sidewalks because when there are big storms the water can’t penetrate the concrete so there’s a lot of runoff that brings sediment and pollution into the lake,” said Drda. “If they put pesticides or fertilizer on the grass it washes off and washes down the road and into the lake.”
The students do not have any president or leadership body as of yet, according to Drda.
“Each of us are from a different field ... we have our own little specializations,” she said.
With majors ranging from environmental science to landscape architecture, the group of students has a very diverse set of skills, yet are all brought together for a common task.
5th-semester natural resource major Kelsey Sullivan believes the wide skill set in the group is very beneficial to their task.
“Many environmental employers are now realizing the importance of collaboration- incorporating multiple disciplines to solve problems.” said Sullivan. “It’s exciting to get a taste of that now, because everyone on our team has a different background. “
The students involved in the project said they were enthusiastic to see the changes on UConn’s campus.
5th-semester landscape architecture major, John Jerman, said, “In the past several years there has been a severe lack of campus beautification, however now with President Herbst there is a sincere attempt to create meaningful and memorable spaces for students and our community here at Storrs. The opportunity for students to get involved in any way that they can, either through this sort of project, or through just showing support for the president and her goals is wonderful. Great strides have already been taken, and the way this campus is going, I cannot wait to come back in ten years and see what it has become.”