History of Campus Sustainability

Timeline of Sustainability Initiatives at Harvey Mudd College.

September 2015

Harvey Mudd College dedicates its newest residence hall in honor of Wayne and Julie Drinkward. The residence hall will be at a minimum a LEED Silver building and welcomed students in late August.

Spring 2015

Public transportation is greatly encouraged as Harvey Mudd College has conducted a rideshare program for several years. The program offers incentives to encourage faculty, staff and students to carpool and use public and alternative forms of transportation whenever possible. In spring 2015, the College installed an electric-vehicle charging station on campus.

Fall 2014

The new Hixon Professorship for Sustainable Environmental Design is filled. Tanja Srebotnjak, an environmental statistician, assumes her new role and begins building the new Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design in spring 2015.

January 2014

The family of Malcolm Lewis endows Professor Steinberg’s position as the professorship of sustainability and society.

August 2013

Harvey Mudd College opens its first LEED Gold Certified building, the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning. The College has set a goal that all future construction projects will have a minimum goal of LEED Silver status.


The Harvey Mudd faculty approves a new emphasis in environmental analysis (EA) at the college in order to recognize and offer greater guidance to students who take six or more courses on environmental topics during their time at Harvey Mudd.

Summer 2011

With the support of the Hixon family, a committee is formed by the dean of the faculty to articulate the contours of a new position in sustainable environmental design.

March 2009

HSA faculty Steinberg, in letter to the dean of the faculty, the VP for advancement and Dylan Hixon, argues for a new position in green design.

February 2008

In response to a call for proposals for the next Claremont College, Harvey Mudd faculty served as lead authors for the proposed Claremont Graduate Institute of Environmental Design. Though ultimately not the top choice of the consortium, the concept served as part of the inspiration for the subsequent Redford Conservancy.

Fall 2008

Harvey Mudd faculty Adolph (biology), McFadden (biology), Haskell (physics) and Steinberg (HSA) propose a “Greenlab” for the College. GreenLab’s facilities would include space for approximately five laboratories, two classrooms, a seminar room, a computer room, 4–6 offices, and environmental monitoring equipment.

February 2008

Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe signs the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. In addition, the Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees appoints a Sustainability Committee composed of representatives of all stakeholder groups in the college to develop priorities and implement decisions regarding the College’s sustainability program. The board also passes a resolution that new buildings on campus meet at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard (or its equivalent) and a resolution calling for premium-rated or ENERGY STAR-certified products to be purchased for use on campus wherever possible.

2007–2008 Academic Year

The Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees Physical Plant and Campus Planning Committee sponsores a Clinic team to evaluate recommendations for improving sustainability at Harvey Mudd. Three projects the group considered particularly beneficial across all areas of sustainability included: electricity metering; replacing grassy areas around campus with native plants to save water; and lining Linde Field with synthetic turf, which would significantly reduce water consumption.

September 27, 2007

The “Earth to Claremont” event takes place at Harvey Mudd. It involved a large tent, live music and was possibly the largest environmental event ever held at the Claremont Colleges. It showcased the many and diverse environmental initiatives underway across our campuses in over 45 booths. The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Environmental Studies at Harvey Mudd, the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona, the Environmental Studies Field Group at Pitzer, and the Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna.


The Council of Presidents of The Claremont Colleges establishes a sustainability initiative, providing funds to faculty, student and staff research teams to develop and implement new approaches for advancing the environmental sustainability of the Claremont campuses. To kick off the project, a team of 15 students and a handful of faculty performed a first-pass sustainability audit of the Claremont campuses. They documented the historical usage of key resources and utilities in order to establish baselines against which to compare future usage, and identified targets for conservation programs. The team also studied emissions, waste disposal and recycling programs to assess the feasibility of achieving carbon neutrality within the next two decades.

Spring 2007

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) and Mudders Organizing for Sustainable Solutions (MOSS) were both organized independently by students. The two groups soon merged to become ESW/MOSS and it remains an active source of creative energy for sustainability initiatives.

April 2007

Harvey Mudd hosts Greening XVI, an annual conference of environmental social scientists from throughout southern California.

Fall 2006

One of President Klawe’s first, major initiatives is the launch of a participatory strategic planning exercise, involving over 200 faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and students, with the goal of identifying a small number of priority foci for the subsequent capital campaign. The first of these, held on October 17, 2006, was titled “Responding to a Changing World,” with the goal to identify the dominant trends and challenges that we will face in the context of assessing Harvey Mudd’s current trajectory of programs and community up to the year 2020. By vote of the participants, sustainability was judged to be the most important theme for discussion in the afternoon breakout sessions.


Harvey Mudd College’s Dining Services works to ensure that the college’s dessert plates and to-go boxes, eating utensils, cups and lids are all made of biodegradable materials. More recently, it also began the practice of tray-minimization dining.


Professor Steinberg teaches one-week sessions in Pitzer’s new Firestone Program for Restoration Ecology, located in Dominical, Costa Rica.


Starting with Case Dorm, and every dorm renovation since, Harvey Mudd has recycled its used dormitory furniture.


Harvey Mudd’s Office of Facilities and Maintenance coordinates an e-waste recycling pick-up program on campus at least two times each year.

Fall 2005–2015

The Center for Environmental Studies (CES) organizes annual environmental research banquets to celebrate the accomplishments of summer research students it funded. The students present their research while guests to attendees while enjoying an informal dinner.

Fall 2005

Harvey Mudd faculty launches a 5-C environmental research colloquium, with the goal of building a community of scholars and enhancing coordination on environmental issues across the colleges. Harvey Mudd hosts the first semester of this biweekly luncheon event, with an average attendance of 25 faculty from the five colleges, representing over a dozen disciplines. Each faculty member could invite one student, and the resulting 1:1 ratio provided a unique opportunity for students to observe and participate in a level of scholarly exchange and cross disciplinary interaction that differs markedly from the typical classroom experience. Joint ownership of the initiative was fostered by a cross-college organizing committee, which hosted the event on a rotating basis over the next two years. An online clearinghouse for environmental course syllabi was created to provide students with “one-stop shopping” to discover over 40 environmental courses offered throughout the consortium. These seminars and the ensuing growth of a community laid the groundwork for subsequent collaborations, such as the joint environmental analysis (EA) major.

April 11, 2005

Harvey Mudd faculty proposes a Center for Environmental Innovation, which includes an emphasis on green campus design, environmental study abroad, curricular development, and career services as part of the capital campaign. Although the proposal did not go forward, the idea’s kernel informed subsequent efforts.


The College’s new Frederick and Susan Sontag Residence Hall becomes the first building in The Claremont Colleges consortium to be granted LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive design. The newly finished 28,000 square foot Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons is the second building on campus to earn a LEED Silver rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, making Harvey Mudd the only college or university in California at the time with two LEED-certified buildings.

March 8, 2004

Harvey Mudd hosts an event organized by the San Gabriel Mountains Regional Conservancy and the US Forest Service – a roundtable titled “Fire Ecology and Public Policy.” This event came on the heels of a major forest fire in the vicinity of the college, and attracted about 150 audience members as well as top fire policymakers.

Spring 2004

Harvey Mudd hosts the speakers series “Shaping the Globe: New Directions in International Environmental Politics.” This four-part series brought renowned scholars and policy-makers to Harvey Mudd, including Thomas Princen, Nancy Peluso, Kal Raustiala, and Kathryn Hochstetler.


Michael Raugh, formerly with the Department of Mathematics, organizes the Dr. Bruce J. Nelson ’74 Distinguished Speaker Series “Sinews of Civilization: Water, Power and Transportation – A California Perspective on the World.”


The Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts (formerly the Humanities and Social Sciences Department) dedicates a tenure line position in environmental politics and policy and hired Paul Steinberg in 2003. Prof. Steinberg has since enriched Harvey Mudd’s curriculum with courses including Biodiversity Policy, Topics in Sustainability, Tropical Forests: Policy and Practice, Global Environmental Politics, and Comparative Environmental Politics.


The College’s renowned Clinic program includes an important first landscape planning study at Harvey Mudd. Involving eight students, most of them from Harvey Mudd, and led by Nancy Hamlett and Tad Beckman, who also secured the needed funding, the study identified significant savings potentials and resulted in irrigation upgrades controlled by a still-functioning weather station at Garrett House, and many landscaping changes that agree with Claremont’s climate zone. Additional environmental Clinic projects followed, including one led by Steve Adolph and Lori Bassman that developed a remote tracking system for the Acorn Woodpecker in collaboration with the Center for Conservation Biology at UC Riverside.


Harvey Mudd College undergoes a discussion of its mission statement that concluded in its expansion to include earth as a system.


Harvey Mudd establishes the Center for Environmental Studies to provide educational opportunities in environmental studies. The CES establishes the conditions necessary for a critical and creative discussion of responsible professional practices.

Late 1990s

Several faculty members, including Tad Beckman, Nancy Hamlett, and Richard Haskell, recognize that environmental studies and science transcend the traditional disciplinary departments and require a trans-disciplinary approach to course design and research.


Harvey Mudd College is founded in 1957. Societal awareness has ever since been a cornerstone of learning at Harvey Mudd. It is embedded in its seal.