MLA Students Compete in EPA's Campus RainWorks Challenge

Posted by Stephanie Schlaifer July 11, 2019


Second-year students in the Master of Landscape Architecture program competed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 Campus RainWorks Challenge. Led by senior lecturer Jacqueline Margetts, with additional support from Phil Valco, the group proposed converting areas of WashU’s campus, like Mudd Field, into biodiverse landscapes that would support beneficial insect species—like the firefly—as well as mitigate rainwater, while providing a beautiful and sustainable landscape for the entire community to enjoy. The team placed sixth in the national competition.

Project Description
As humanity proceeds toward an uncertain future, it is necessary to consider more sustainable and resilient practices. Using the iconic firefly as a conceptual framework for stormwater management, our proposal not only tackles the issue of surface water management, but also challenges the traditional campus landscape by establishing patches and corridors of insect habitat. The firefly was selected to drive the design not only because of its mating light display but also because it is a crucial component within, and an indicator of, healthy ecosystems.

We propose a series of bioretention habitats strategically staged across campus that utilize native and adaptive species while diverting surface water to minimize strain on the existing sewer system.

Conceived as a phased project, we place the first of these bioretention habitats directly in the heart of the campus. This biodiverse terrain is a destination and amenity, easily accessible to students and faculty. Much like the iconic flash of the firefly, this proposed intervention arrests and delights passersby and sparks curiosity. Learn more about their project in this video>>

Participating Students
Xiaoxi Yuan
Dongzhe Tao
Simiya Sudduth
Haihan Qu
Virginia Eckinger
Lauren McDaniel
Natia Kapanadze
Nicholas Oriss