Semester 45: Life on Campus

Written by: Gemma, Liesl, Levi, Henry, & Maggie

Academic life at HMI can be summed up into one word: reading. Poetry, the Constitution, communist writings, the Onion, you name it! Currently, students in English class are reading a book called Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko, which is based around the oral traditions and ceremonial practices of the Navajo and Pueblo people. In history, they are learning about the formation of the United States, involving much Hamilton and minimal banking education (see Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed). Currently, in science, students are preparing to give Ted Talk structured presentations on a topic of their interest and how it is affected by climate change. Prepare for a busy week at HMI, the pre-exped grind exists!

Cabin life at HMI fosters an extraordinary closeness between friends. Upon returning to the cabin after a particularly long day, the chill, goofy, hilarious environment puts everyone at ease and really helps to create a sense of home. Occasional inter-cabin competitions help stir up a friendly sense of competition and cabin pride, and each cabin’s decor evolves throughout the semester to suit its unique inhabitants. For example, Cabin 4 has a regular meme wall on rotation! Cabin time also provides a space for students to be vulnerable with their cabin mates, and this really helps bring cabins together. Whether it’s planning a Coffee House act or taking a walk, cabin mates frequently organize times to hang out outside of the cabins. These activities were particularly enjoyable during our recent Giardia quarantine, and many cabins found that period, although stressful, to be quite the cabin-bonding moment.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday after lunch, students look forward to signing up for their preferred activity to participate in, often led by apprentices and sometimes even other students.  Students can offer ideas for activities and run them with the help of apprentices.  One favorite activity is time at the local turf field in Leadville, playing football, soccer, spike ball, or just kicking back with the amazing Sawatch Range as a viewing point behind the field.  Another fun activity that was led by senior HMI student Lilia Klinger and science apprentice Sam was “Winter Fun” where students participated in creating snow ramps and used HMI’s Nordic skis to hit the jump.  Another fun activity held was Adens “Arts and Trash” where students made art out of trash!  Some of the creations made were: A bra made out of hold sun butter containers, clogs made out of plastic jars, and a hat made of old avocado cardboard containers.  Oziel and Mari led “Bachata dance”, a type of Latin American dance that originated in the Dominican Republic where students learned basic steps and ended with a Meringue dance.   Before Halloween, all students participated in a group pumpkin carving activity where students got creative and made pumpkin helmets, names, and silly faces.  Activities are a great time for students to get their minds off of school and have fun with their peers.

Saturday’s at HMI are a favorite time of the week at HMI. While past Saturday activities have included mini-golf, the cabin “Throwdown-Showdown,” and the coffee house performance, last Saturday (Halloween) was a favorite among the student body. Students and faculty celebrated Halloween through costumes, dance, and general festivity. Throughout the day costumes were worn by almost everyone on campus. Unicorns, chefs, mops, janitors, wolves, and even metal cans could be spotted across the HMI campus. After a spooky day of classes, students gathered for dinner in Who’s Hall before participating in a semester-wide cabin trick-or-treating event. Cabins spent the days before Halloween decorating their cabins for the rest of the semester to see. The artistic vision of Cabin 7 was particularly notable, including bloody footprints, scary noises, and general cleanliness. Cabin 3 was decorated with balloons and cabin 2 put up lights and jack-o-lanterns but perhaps the most frightening aspect of the night was the pungent odor emitting from cabin 6. Cabin groups would rotate around going from one cabin to another, receiving candy from a teacher or apprentice inside each cabin. Afterward, students participated in a costume contest organized by the Cabin Representatives (the elected leaders of each cabin). Junior Aksel from Los Angeles took home the prize for his brilliantly crafted metal-can costume. To conclude the night students participated in a Halloween Dance Dj’d by students. Generally, the semester was grateful to be able to participate in normal Halloween festivities in the time of COVID-19. Liesl (a junior from New York) said, “It was such a fun time and I’m very thankful we got to have a real dance/Halloween party and a normal Halloween in the time of this pandemic.”

AMX is a great part of life here on campus happening every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week we have started off with 3 miles. AMX is a great social activity where you can connect with people on campus or run to clear your head and get ready for the busy day on campus. Running in the morning allows students to see sunrises and the amazing views Leadville has to offer while also preparing us for the third exped. Students are feeling as if they have more training under their belt, and are excited about the 10-mile fun run. The third exped will be a nice break from running, but there’s no doubt that students will hit the ground running upon return (even if there are several feet of snow!).