WVSU students go green for environmental competition

Contact: Dr. Amir Hass
(304) 720-1025
Dec. 5, 2012
WVSU students go green for environmental competition
EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge promotes storm water management nationwide
INSTITUTE, W.Va.West Virginia State University students are going green for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Campus RainWorks Challenge” by creating an environmentally friendly storm water management system on campus. The national competition demonstrates how green design elements benefit schools, communities and the environment, and comes with a cash prize for the winning project.

“The Challenge provides a great opportunity to promote awareness about constrains and possibilities associated with storm water in urbanized landscapes,” said Dr. Amir Hass, a WVSU research scientist and the group’s faculty advisor. “Developing such green infrastructure will serve as a unique demonstration and education project to further promote awareness and innovative solutions for storm water management on WVSU’s campus and beyond.”
Two large terraces, to be constructed on campus, will feature a wetland area at the base, with a walking trail for visitors and students to enjoy. A variety of native plants will be grown around the area, such as holly, rhododendron, cattails and a variety of ferns. The water collected from the area will be captured to infiltrate back into the groundwater on campus.       

“We’re greatly reducing the amount of pollution runoff that’s coming off two parking lots and going directly to a waterway leading straight to the river,” said WVSU Biology major Lora Funfstuck, one of four students working on the project. “In essence, we’re taking water that would otherwise be highly polluted and reutilizing it.” The group is using existing green space between the Wilson University Union and the Drain-Jordan Library parking lots.

The EPA’s “Campus RainWorks Challenge” is for undergraduate and graduate students nationwide. Students form teams with the ultimate goal of creating an innovative green infrastructure design on their campus. The winning team will receive a cash prize, in addition to funding for their faculty advisor to use for green infrastructure research purposes. Winners will be announced on April 22, 2013.
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multigenerational institution, located in Institute, WV. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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