Kent State Team Awarded $15,000 for Sustainability Design Competition

A team of Kent State University students and faculty has been awarded a $15,000 grant as part of a sustainability design competition funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Last year, a group of faculty representing three disciplines — biology, geology and architecture/environmental design — submitted an application for the EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grant competition. The P3 competition encourages college students to design innovative projects outside of the classroom in order to support the sustainability of the planet. 

The Kent State P3 team will present its sustainability plan to a panel of qualified judges in Washington, D.C., in April. If the Kent State team is chosen as the winner of the competition, it will be awarded up to an additional $75,000 to implement its program. 

“I think this type of grant exemplifies everything we’re meant to do as faculty at a research institution,” said Anne Jefferson, assistant professor of geology in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences. “It really mixes teaching and research. We’re not teaching in a formal classroom setting, but working with a group of students and doing innovative scholarship at the same time.”

There is at least one undergraduate student and one graduate student representing the majors of biology, geology and architecture/environmental design. Chris Blackwood, an associate professor of biological sciences in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, said that the students volunteered their time to make the team what it is now.

“We anticipated eight students and wound up with about 20,” said Reid Coffman, an associate professor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State. “I think a lot of people were really interested in the project and became excited about it.”

Students have been working and researching since the beginning of the fall semester. Faculty meet with students weekly to discuss ideas and attempt to combine, edit and eventually finalize the plan, which will be representative of the students’ diversified fields and levels of knowledge. 

“I wanted to get a taste of working with people who understand things other than architecture,” said Max Wagner, an architecture and urban design graduate student in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “It gives me the chance to get a handle on things that I wouldn’t otherwise know about.”

For more information about Kent State’s submission, which is titled “Testing the (Storm) Waters: Techniques for Surface Reclamation on Urban Brownfields,” visit

For more information about the EPA’s P3 competition, visit

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Media Contacts:
Reid Coffman,, 330-672-2917
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Friday, November 7, 2014 - 3:32pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 17, 2020 - 1:27pm
Samantha Tuly