Get Involved


Public involvement can provide valuable input and support to the University’s stormwater program and is critical to its success. The University provides many different opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to participate. Here you can find out more about those opportunities. Have an idea or already participating in an activity that isn’t listed? Please let us know by contacting the University’s Water Quality Compliance Manager.


Involvement Opportunities


Pick-It-Up Campaign

A multifaceted campaign managed by UK Sustainability with the single goal of eliminating litter on campus. The premise is simple, Wildcats don’t walk past litter, they pick it up. As part of this campaign the Adopt-a-Spot program has been developed to engage student groups in keeping campus clean. Teams can select a campus zone and conduct monthly cleanups to receive swag and prizes. Help keep our water ways free of litter and join today!


Pass On Plastics Campaign

Single-use plastic items negatively impact aquatic environments, wildlife, roadsides, human health, and the economy. Reduce the impacts of single-use plastic items on campus by encouraging reuse and new habits. Take the pledge to reduce plastic pollution by refusing single use plastic items, replacing them with reusable options, recycling everything you can, and encouraging friends to do the same. See the UK Sustainability POPS Campaign page for more information.


Sustainability Challenge Grant Program

A program designed to engage multidisciplinary teams from the University community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will promote sustainability by simultaneously advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social equity. Previously funded stormwater related projects include:

  • The Arboretum Drive Bioswale Demonstration and Education Project
  • The Arboretum Children’s Garden Patio and Wet Meadow Demonstration Area Project
  • The Campus Tree Initiative
  • Creating Tree Ambassadors
  • Mobilizing Tree Ambassadors Through Campus and Community Engagement, Teaching and Research
  • Tree CATS

Visit the Sustainability Challenge Grants page for more information about these and other funded projects. If you have an idea that can benefit campus stormwater but need funding to get it off the ground, visit the Sustainability Grants page for information on funding opportunities and how to apply.


CATchment Clean up Events

In 2013 the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment (TFISE) facilitated the construction of a rain garden to educate the UK community about stormwater runoff and developing stormwater control measures to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of that runoff. Known as the CATchment, this project continues to be a source of public education and involvement through CATchment Cleanup Events held every spring and fall. For additional questions and to sign up for individual, class, and/or club participation, please contact Shane Tedder, UK’s Sustainability Administrator and TFISE Assistant Director.



EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge

This annual design competition for American colleges and universities seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. With the support of a faculty advisor, teams are asked to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater pollution and also provides additional benefits to the campus community and environment. Entries can be submitted in two categories: Demonstration Project or Master Plan. Registration forms are typically due in early Fall, followed by an entry deadline in December. Winners are announced later in the spring. Cash prizes are awarded to the first and second place teams and faculty advisors. For more information about the challenge, visit the EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge website. Please contact the University’s Water Quality Compliance Manager for assistance and to notify of your decision to participate in the challenge. Previous University entries in the challenge include:

  • Gluck Pond Alternative Management Techniques – Wetland Conversion Design
  • College Town Green Infrastructure Design/Integration
  • South Campus Village Design
  • Bringing Sustainable Stormwater Management to Agricultural Campus
  • South Campus Stormwater Green Infrastructure Masterplans


Capstone Projects

A Capstone project is a written or creative project of a student’s choosing that is directed by a professor in the student’s major department or in a relevant discipline. These experiences are designed to round out a student’s educational experience and are typically focused on a student’s major course of study. Many colleges require graduates of their program to take a Capstone course which is intended to help students integrate classroom instruction, extended field experience, internship, and applied research experiences. Environmental Quality Management personnel as well as other University staff are available to assist classes/students with these projects acting as technical advisors. There are many different opportunities available within Stormwater Program and University Operations for such projects to occur on campus and within the surrounding community. Please contact the University’s Water Quality Compliance Manager to discuss potential projects and assistance. Examples of Capstone Projects include:

  • Evaluating the UK-LFUCG Arboretum and State Botanical Garden
  • Assessing Water Quality in the Inner Bluegrass
  • Infiltration Rates of Campus Green Infrastructure


Class Involvement/Instruction

Interested in hands on experience for your class? Would you like guest instruction from water quality professionals? The UK Stormwater Program has many different opportunities to involve your class and/or provide additional instruction. Please contact the University’s Water Quality Compliance Manager to discuss potential opportunities. Examples of recent class involvement include:

  • Gen 100 – Outdoor classroom and education planning for the Alumni Stream Restoration Project
  • BAE 532/CE 542 – Development of a conceptual design for the Alumni Stream Restoration Project
  • BAE 200/BAE 301 – CATchment Cleanup participation
  • LA 425 – USEPA Rainworks Challenge participation
  • EGR 199 – Student collection and analysis of water samples
  • Global Water Issues Seminar – Storm drain assessment and marking
  • EES 585 – Alumni Stream Restoration groundwater flow monitoring
  • FOR 460 – Stormwater 101 overview, UK FEMA Project, and UKMS4 Program guest lecture


Special Events

Each semester special events are held to facilitate public involvement in the stormwater program. Past events have included:

To learn more about upcoming events, please visit the University of Kentucky Event Calendar.


Storm Drain Marking Program

Stormwater Drain Marking ProgramEverything that enters a storm drain flows directly to a nearby stream. Many people dump pollutants or allow pollutants to flow into these drains unaware that the discharge will enter a waterway and harm fish/other wildlife as well as impact those that live downstream. Storm drain markers are signs that can be placed on storm drains informing the public that only rain should go down the storm drain. Our goal is to mark all campus storm drains with No Dumping signage and maintain that signage. With nearly 2000 storm drains on campus, we need your help! Our program is designed for both individuals and groups. Environmental Quality Management will provide you with free supplies as well as detailed instructions. Classroom instruction and in-person training is also available. See our Storm Drain Marking Program for more information.


Illicit Discharge Reporting

Make illicit discharge detection part of your daily routine as you walk to class, your office, or your car. If you see something other than rainwater going down the storm drain, report it. This is a simple yet effective way to get involved and has a direct impact on stormwater quality. Likewise, if you see work practices on campus that have the potential to impact stormwater and protective measures don’t seem to be in place, let us know. Future reports can be made by selecting the Report an Illicit Discharge button on any of the Water Quality pages.  Visit our Illicit Discharge section to learn more about what an illicit discharge is and how to identify the most common ones on campus.