University of Vermont

College of

UVM Links Students with Vermont Communities

Release Date: 09-23-2010

Author: Dawn Densmore

The UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences School of Engineering will once again link students and community partners in 2011 to create win-win scenarios. Part of curriculum requirements for students enrolled in the CE175 Senior Capstone Design course (Spring 2011) is service-learning projects. In the of Spring 2010 students worked together in groups of four to five, collaborating with community partners from site visits to final presentations. Projects varied in scope and often extended beyond engineering, as students took into consideration historic preservation, societal needs and economic factors. Project partners included the City of Burlington, Towns of Essex, Barnet and Richmond, Gardenside Community in Shelburne and the University of Vermont.

"These projects allow community partners to gain engineering recommendations from students -- students gain a unique understanding of the complexity involved in finding creative solutions to specific engineering problems," says the instructor Mandar Dewoolkar, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering in the School of Engineering who values rigor and theory, but sees doing as a path to knowing.

Openings for Spring 2011

Communities and non-profit organizations interested in finding solutions to their local civil and environmental engineering related problems are encouraged to contact Mandar Dewoolkar ( with their ideas for the Spring 2011 Senior Civil & Environmental Engineering projects:

Brief descriptions of some 2010 projects in students' words with project video stories are provided below:

Low Impact Stormwater Management for Decatur Street, Burlington

The City of Burlington worked with UVM students Ian Anderson, Joel Fleming, Brendan Kerin, Kristofer Kretsch and Addison Minott to solve an ongoing problem on Decatur Street in Burlington, VT. The accumulation of stormwater at the southern end, combined with a high volume of traffic, may create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and bikers. Students worked to design a sustainable stormwater system to address the flow of traffic, as well as be aesthetically pleasing for residents. Solutions proposed by students included an underground storage system and a rain garden containing a tree box filter, gravel wetland and bio-retention facility – the students' choice was for their rain garden design.

Essex Way Stormwater Analysis and Design

The Town of Essex, VT partnered with students: Tyler Glode, Michael Mainer, Michael McGaughan and Newt Rogers to address stormwater issues in the Essex Way area. Water flowing into the Indian Brook artery of the Winooski River has caused Indian Brook to be designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an "Impaired Waterway". Students were asked to design an optimal, cost effective, aesthetically pleasing and safe stormwater system that could comply with the new 2010 NPDES permit regulations. Students, after considering multiple scenarios, recommended a combination of expanding three existing retention ponds, installing new rain gardens and infiltration trenches, as well as the installation of underground storage tanks.

Modifications to Harvey's Lake Dam, Barnet

The Town of Barnet, VT partnered with students: Matthew Gamelin, Kurt Hutchins, Christopher Pollock, Laura Townsend and Michael Wynne to design a sluice gate in the stoplog slots for the dam that will be safe and easy to operate. The new gate is expected to increase the current limited flow capacity of the dam. The students performed a detailed flow analysis including sedimentation and lateral movement of the outlet channel analyses. The students designed a replacement sluice gate, safety railings and walkways.