Competition Rules

  1. Competition Description: Student teams create an innovative, functional and aesthetically designed drinking water fountain for one of the three categories of concern.  All designs should increase access to safe and wholesome drinking water for public spaces. Both indoor and outdoor designs will be considered.
  2. How to Enter: Complete the on-line application at
  3. Eligibility: Only current Michigan State University undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to form teams, however, Lansing Community College students are eligible to join a team.  All team members must show proof of current enrollment at MSU or LCC to claim prize money.
  4. Evaluation Criteria:
    • Phase I Evaluation Criteria
      • Your Idea, Enthusiasm, Team preparation, Multidisciplinary nature of the team, Innovation, Creativity, Anticipated impact on the community.
    • Phase II Evaluation Criteria
      • Technical Drawing(s)
      • Fountain Design Drawing(s)
      • Artistic Appeal or Educational Component or Portability of Fountain
      • Design Function
      • Anticipated Impact of Design within the scope of your selected category
      • Cost Evaluation
      • Innovation and Creativity
      • Writing Clarity and Visual Presentation
      • Interdisciplinary Team Collaboration
  5. Submission Deadline: Phase I concepts must be submitted online on or before December 23, 2016.
  6. Contest Timeline
    • Phase I October  2016 to December 23, 2016. Join scheduled networking events, develop your team, determine which problem you will focus on, submit a concept proposal to be judged. 
    • Phase II –  January 2017 to April 2017. Up to four designs from each of the three categories will be chosen by judges to move onto Phase II. Industry experts in engineering, public health, education, business, art and water research industry leaders will be available to answer team questions during Phase II.  Specific engineering criteria and a schematic proposal, cost analysis and business plan will be required for each team submission. An overall winner will be awarded the top cash prize at the end of Phase II. Cash awards will also be presented to the 2nd and 3rd place overall finishers. The final judging takes place in April 2017.
    • Phase III – TBD. Possibility of building a prototype for a specific client. Will be determined by value of design and availability of funds.
  7. Project requirements: Project must meet drinking water quality standards, minimum performance criteria and American Disability Act standards.
  8. Jury: The composition of the jury is determined by the contest organizers. The jury may be made up of contest organizers as well as experts in several different disciplines and community members. The jury awards the prizes for first, second and third place winners. Decisions by the jury are final. Awards will be determined in April 2017.  
  9. Prizes: The top student team design in each category from all Phase I entries will be awarded $1000 in January 2017. Please note, if less than 3 team entries have been received  for a category the Fountain Challenge reserves the right to withdraw this category cash prize.   An overall student team winner will be awarded the top cash prize at the end of Phase II.  Cash awards will also be presented to the 2nd and 3rd place overall team finishers. The final judging ceremony and awards will be in April 2017:
    • First Prize – $15,000
    • Second Prize -$7,000
    • Third Prize – $5,000
  10. Publicity and image rights: Throughout the contest, MSU may communicate on the identity of the teams and/or the progress of their projects with press or other media and social media outlets and platforms. Accordingly,  teams may be requested to provide biographical details and photographs to MSU and agree to their publication on  and on contest social networks.  The winners expressly agree to the free use and publication of these data on any media and for any advertising or promotional campaign related to this contest.
  11. Financial support: The potential 12 teams selected to move forward to Phase II (on the completion of Phase I) shall be provided with $50 for each individual team member for the creating a formal schematic, business plan and presentation for the final judging event.
  12. Confidentiality: Participants in the contest shall not to disclose any material information about the content of their projects before the submission of the designs and the announcement of the winners.
  13. Disclaimers & Liability: By submitting an entry to The Fountain Challenge competition, you agree that:
    • Michigan State University, The Fountain Challenge, its jury and mentors will not be liable for any loss or damage of your entry or for any other loss or damage resulting directly or indirectly from your participation in the competition or your receipt, use or redemption of any prize(s), or your inability to receive, use or redeem any prize(s). If you are receiving financial aid please review the Office of Financial Aid Institutional Awards Policy. msu-institutional-awards-policy-1
    • Michigan State University and The Fountain Challenge will not be responsible for: (1) incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information or late, lost, incomplete, misdirected entries or entries received through impermissible or illegitimate channels; (2) technical failures of any kind, including malfunctioning of any telephone, computer, network, hardware or software; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or competition (5) electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the competition or the processing of entries; or (6) any injury or damage to persons or property including your computer, which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from your participation in the competition.
    • Michigan State University and The Fountain Challenge will not be liable to you for any indirect, special, consequential or punitive damages in connection with The Fountain Challenge competition or these rules.
    • You do not have an expectation of confidentiality with respect to any data or information submitted, discussed, or presented in connection with the Fountain Challenge, and Michigan State University and the Fountain Challenge will not be restricted in publicizing or publishing information submitted in connection with the Fountain Challenge.
    • You grant to Michigan State University and The Fountain Challenge the unrestricted, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, sub-licensable, assignable, license (but not the obligation) to reproduce, communicate, modify, display, transmit, publicly perform, make derivative works from, and otherwise use the entry (in whole or in part) without any fee or other form of compensation, and without further notification or permission, for the following purposes:
      • administering The Fountain Challenge competition;
      • identifying you by name as the creator of the entry;
      • displaying the winning entries in The Fountain Challenge competition; and
      • advertising in any media, including to advertise The Fountain Challenge competition, future competitions.
    • You acknowledge and agree that you own all of the content included in your submitted plan or otherwise have obtained any required permissions to use such content, and that your submitted plan does not include any content (e.g. trademarks, company names, photos, music, works of art, or images) that infringes or violates the rights of any third party. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Michigan State University, The Fountain Challenge, the jury and mentors, from any and all claims, causes of action, damages, liabilities or losses (including attorneys’ fees) arising from or related to your misrepresentation or breach of the requirements in the preceding sentence.
  14. Contacts: For questions about The Fountain Challenge please contact:
    • Melissa Downs
      Department of  Fisheries and Wildlife
      Michigan State Universtity