Hixon Center Hosts First Sustainable Design and Solutions Conference

The Hixon Center successfully hosted the first Biennial Conference for Sustainable Design and Solutions at HMC on Saturday, October 8th, 2016. With nearly 100 attendees throughout the day, the conference sought to engage students, faculty, and professionals in stimulating conversations about a wide variety of environmental issues and sustainable solutions across a range of fields. The conference drew attendees from each of the Claremont schools, as well as from other regional institutions such as the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The conference began with a Keynote Address from Amanda Sabicer, who currently serves as the Vice President of Development at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. In her keynote address, Amanda discussed the role of LACI as a city-supported investor in up and coming Cleantech businesses, encouraging innovation in sustainable technologies. She discussed the lacking presence of women, as well as the general lack of racial and ethnic diversity in higher levels of the Cleantech industry, and what LACI is currently doing to address those issues.

Amanda Sabicer

Amanda Sabicer

From then on, the conference offered morning presentations from students, academics, and professionals from non-profit organizations and industry. Presenters included Harvey Mudd’s own Professor David Vosburg, graduate student Kristoffer Wikstrom from Claremont Graduate University, and Sierra Nevada’s Danny Kahn (an HMC parent). Immediately afterward, the first of two panel presentations took place on the topic of Urban Design. The panel featured Caltech’s Neil Fromer, Home Front Build’s Derek Ryder, Environmental Systems Design CEO and Claremont McKenna Alum Raj Gupta, and CHERP’s Devon Hartman. The panelists shared their thoughts on some of the key innovations in sustainable urban design and how these innovations could be used to remedy environmental damage and promote environmental justice.

Lauren D'Souza (left, CMC-'18) and Lillian Liang (right, HMC-'18) presenting their consulting project with the Roberts Environmental Center.

Lauren D’Souza (left, CMC-’18) and Lillian Liang (right, HMC-’18) presenting their consulting project with the Roberts Environmental Center.

Following lunch, attendees were given time to view poster presentations from students across the 5Cs. Posters included the outstanding summer research of awardees of the Rasmussen Fund, as well as from consulting teams of the Roberts Environmental Center at CMC.

This preceded the second panel presentation on Water Infrastructure, which featured the City of Los Angeles’ Andy Shrader, Gibson Dunn Partner and CMC Adjunct Professor Thomas McHenry, Harvey Mudd’s own Ziyad Durón, and the Bay Planning Coalition’s John Coleman. Their conversation was centered on California’s historic drought, the current problems with water management by various levels of government, and their individual perspectives on what we as California residents can be optimistic about going forward.

The conference featured an afternoon panel presentation on Water Infrastructure.

The conference featured an afternoon panel presentation on Water Infrastructure.

The day closed with 90-minute skill-building workshops, which included composting and cooking workshops, a design workshop facilitated by The Hive, a Life Cycle Assessment workshop facilitated by Hixon Center Director Tanja Srebotnjak, and solar cell engineering and economics workshops.

All in all, the day was highly eventful, and we here at the Hixon Center were proud and glad to host this conference. This event would not have been possible without critical help from campus partners, including Communications & Marketing, Facilities & Maintenance, Business Affairs, Dining Services, Computing and Information Services, HMC faculty and staff, and student volunteers. We are also incredibly grateful for the financial support of Adelaide and Dylan Hixon, and would like to thank Tom Bleakney (HMC-’69) and Matthew Seaman (P-’16) for their generous financial contributions to our conference.

Fred Leichtner (Executive Director of The Hive) facilitated a Design Thinking Workshop for conference attendees.

Fred Leichter (Executive Director of The Hive) facilitated a Design Thinking Workshop for conference attendees.

If you would like to read our reflections about the conference, continue here!