Rain barrel auction raises $1,625 for KU Student Rain Garden

LAWRENCE – KU Memorial Unions presented a check for $1,625 to the Center for Sustainability on June 1 to help support the KU Student Rain Garden. The money was raised at an April 23 auction featuring decorated rain barrels as part of the KU Rain Barrels on Parade initiative.

The fundraiser was coordinated by KU Environs with support from the KU Bookstore, KU Dining Services, Student Union Activities, the Center for Sustainability and Coca-Cola. The barrels and conversion kits were donated by Coca-Cola to reuse and repurpose syrup containers, and the rain barrels were assembled and decorated by students, faculty, staff and community members.

“We were extremely impressed by the creativity of those who donated their talents to decorating rain barrels,” said KU Environs president Kim Scherman. “Not only will the rain garden benefit from the money that was raised, but community members are helping reducing storm water runoff and benefiting from the free water now collecting in barrels they bought at the auction.”

The Student Garden Advisory Board plans to use a portion of the funding to purchase new interpretive signage to help educate visitors about the native plants in the garden. The donation will also be used to purchase garden tools, equipment and supplies needed for maintenance, as well as new plants for the rain garden.  

Located next to the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center, the KU Student Rain Garden is a native garden that was designed by students and is sustainably maintained by volunteers. Water from the rooftop of the building is distributed through the garden instead of flowing directly into the municipal storm drain system. This provides an opportunity for the water to infiltrate into the soil and be taken up by the plants, which reduces flow to the storm drain and improves water quality.

The garden was constructed in 2009 with funding from Student Senate, Recreation Services and a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. However, the project does not have an ongoing source of funding.

“This donation will go a long way in filling our current gap in annual maintenance needs at the garden,” said Jeff Severin, director of the Center for Sustainability. “We are very grateful for the generosity of our community and the organizations that supported KU Rain Barrels on Parade."

Click here for more information about the KU Student Rain Garden.