The Hixon Center works under the guiding principle of “learning by doing” and the believes that “there is no substitute for knowledge” (W. Edwards Deming). Finding solutions to man-made environmental problems is an inherently trans-disciplinary and community-oriented challenge.
The Center’s research and initiatives are, therefore, closely linked to local representations of sustainability challenges that scale up to the global level such as ecosystem resilience, energy systems, mobility, water resource management and climate change.
The Center currently pursues the following main research questions:
- What are the environmental and health risks associated with unconventional energy development and how can they be mitigated?
- How can we achieve systemic, lasting and transferable reductions in energy consumption at the local level?
- How is sustainability manifested in pedagogy, research and community action at Harvey Mudd College and what does the social network structure underlying these activities look like?
As the Center continues to grow and evolve, its research portfolio will too. It is envisioned that eventually all core disciplines at the College will be represented and contribute to research addressing many current and emerging environmental challenges.
Harvey Mudd College is nationally recognized as a leader in STEM education. In particular, the College combines rigorous training in engineering, the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science with a solid foundation in the humanities and the social sciences to educate the next generation of leaders in their fields who fully understand the impact of their work on society. The Hixon Center was established to support this mission and works to offer a range of educational, research and practical opportunities in the environmental sciences, natural resource management and conservation.
Aside from promoting and engaging in sustainability research, the Hixon Center is establishing partnerships with a variety of departments and campus groups to help reduce its environmental footprint and build a sustainable campus. It has also partnered with the City of Claremont, Sustainable Claremont, and the Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP) to compete in the 50 cities Georgetown University Energy Prize competition (GUEP.org). In this competition, the Claremont Energy Challenge (CEC) uses a dense network of local community partnerships to create innovative, scalable and reproducible energy saving measures targeting all 13,000 households and K–12 public schools. The Claremont Colleges, among them Harvey Mudd, counts many volunteers—students, faculty and staff—among the supporters of the challenge.