Semester 43: Life on Campus

This week marks the start of our second week of classes. So far, classes have been very fun and engaging as we are all finally settling into the school routine after expedition. In math class we have been diving into new material at different levels. In science class we have been on three labs exploring Leadville: one trip to Turquoise Lake, one to the Sugarloaf Dam and another to a closed mine. During these trips, we have been exploring and observing Leadville’s landscape while learning about how it came to be in the classroom. This week in Practices and Principles (P&P) each class had a debate about animal husbandry. Some students argued from the side of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the other side as the Tyson Meat Company. The discussion was really engaging and broadened our perspective on the topic. In Spanish class we are learning about the “Camino de Santiago,” which is a 800km walk across Spain, in addition to learning games, songs and lots of grammar. We began our history classes by learning about the bias of American History and are beginning to read and discuss that history as objectively as we can. Finally, for English, classes have mostly been reading, writing and analyzing poetry. All of the classes have been incredibly interesting. The days at HMI are very busy and full of learning!

Our weekend started with Saturday morning exercise. Instead of running on Saturdays, we have other forms of fun exercise. This Saturday we enjoyed a zumba workout. We had two classes in the morning and one after lunch, before splitting into groups to rotate going to town, chopping wood and relaxing. After dinner, we had our first Coffee House talent show. Amongst the talent that was showcased were several musical acts and a skit of The Wizard of Oz. Following a fun filled Saturday, “Sacred Sunday” was welcomed. There was no morning exercise, so we enjoyed a later wake up time and ate brunch. We spent the afternoon in our solo spots; which are assigned places around campus where we go for alone time and reflection. Once we returned from our solo spots we did some homework and enjoyed each other’s company for a relaxing end to our weekend.

Residential life at HMI is a fundamental part of our community and allows us to grow closer with each other every day. This past week was no exception. On Thursday, we had our second community meeting of the semester, which was focused around how we can develop our own identities here at HMI and how to foster an inclusive environment. This was a perfect segway into Thursday night’s cabin representative vote, in which each cabin elected a student representative. These representatives have the opportunity to meet with faculty to discuss ideas to better our community and will help facilitate cabin meetings with their apprentice cabin heads. In other news, cook crews have started on campus. Each student has two cook crews a week (breakfast, lunch or dinner) in which they help prepare and serve meals for the community. Chores are also in full swing! In addition to cook crew, each student has an assigned chore they do every morning from 8:30-8:50 (except Sundays) making it so our campus is always clean. Last week was our first week of activities. Students participated in a variety of fun pastimes including Soccer, Tai Chi, planning a flash mob and going on walks in nature. Lastly, morning exercise (AMX) is in full swing. This past Monday we went on our longest run of the semester so far at a whopping 4 miles.

We’ve been back from our first expedition for two weeks now and we’re already deep into both school work and social life here on campus. Despite the busy schedule of morning exercise, classes and cooking, the students of Semester 43 have proved their resourcefulness by managing to find time to work on projects that they are passionate about. We already have multiple student created initiatives. One of those is a group raising awareness about the global climate strike. They recognized that a student walkout here at HMI would not have an impact, so instead they distributed bags to the student body and instructed us to keep and carry around all of the waste that we created for the entire day (kitchen waste and bathroom waste not included) to better conceptualize how much waste we create. There was also a competition to see who could shower the fastest to save water!

Another student organized project currently underway is a semester magazine. Students from multiple cabins decided that they wanted to highlight and celebrate as much of Semester 43 as possible. They are currently looking for submissions of anything from pictures to poems to longer essays. While submitting to the magazine is entirely optional the students running the project are hoping for a submission of some sort from every student. It’s been great to have such high student involvement so early in the semester. Stay tuned to hear how these projects progress!