Our home base is our 80-acre HMI campus outside of Leadville, Colorado

On campus, students take academic classes, live in rustic cabins, and share meals with their peers and teachers. Our students serve as stewards of the campus, participating in daily chores and spending time in the kitchen helping to prepare meals.

Experience a day in the life of HMI Semester 45 (fall 2020). This video was made for the Semester 45 virtual Family Weekend. 

Weekdays at HMI

Weekdays involve morning exercise, chores, classes, and study hall. Twice a week, students participate in “cook crew” where they help prepare meals for the entire community. Cook crew and chores allow students to share the responsibility of keeping our campus running. 

7:25 AMX (morning exercise): A short run to the Beaver Ponds below Mt. Elbert

8:00 Breakfast: Pancakes (plain, blueberry, or chocolate chip), yogurt, granola, and orange juice

8:30 Morning chores: Shovel the snow that fell overnight off the campus walkways

9:00 Natural Science: Learn about animals in the Leadville ecosystem by tracking them about the HMI campus

10:30 Advanced Spanish: Travel to Leadville to meet with native Spanish speakers and hear their immigration stories

12:00 Lunch: Homemade chili (both vegetarian and chili with meat), cornbread, salad, and fruit

12:30 Announcements: News for the day

1:00 Pre-Calculus: Take turns working through exponential function problems

2:30 Afternoon activities: Ultimate Frisbee, photography lesson, or cook crew

4:00 AP US History: Participate in a mock trial of a famous historian for the misrepresentation of American history

5:30 Free time: A little free time to relax

6:00 Dinner: A quick poetry reading kicks off the meal of lasagna, garlic bread, and salad

7:00 Study Hall: Revise critical review for U.S. History and read a few chapters of Into the Wild for English class

9:15 Free time: Hang out, brush teeth, make phone calls

9:45 Cabin check-in: Head back to your cabin and stoke the fire one last time before bed

Weekends at HMI

Weekends include free time for a chance to relax, visit the town of Leadville, finish homework, and spend time with friends. Organized activities offer students a chance to connect with one another and our beautiful setting in Colorado. 

  • Skiing at Ski Cooper 20 minutes down the road
  • Taking a trip to the Great Sands National Park
  • Spending an evening at the natural hot springs south of town 
  • Performing in a student-run talent show
  • Learning to square dances with professional callers
  • Beginning the college process with a visit to Colorado College
  • Learning to chop wood–the fuel for our cabins’ wood burning stoves 
  • Spending a few hours alone on an afternoon “solo”

Cabin Life

Students live in rustic cabins during their time at HMI with 8-10 single-gender peers. Our cabins are not connected to the electric grid–they are lit by solar-powered lights and heated by wood-burning stoves. Students are responsible for lighting the stoves (and splitting the wood!) that keep their cabin warm at night. HMI cabins are one of the places where students form the tightest bonds within the community. 

Affinity Spaces

HMI students have two faculty-sponsored affinity spaces available to them, the People of Color affinity group, and Q² (Queer & Questioning).

The People of Color affinity group is a safe and welcoming space for students who identify as people of color. We hold this space to celebrate our diverse ethnic backgrounds and to take pride in the cultural richness of the POC experience, as well as to heal together from the emotional trauma we endure, especially in predominantly white areas. This space was brought about by a student in Semester 43 (fall 2019). Since then, this community has served as a place to process, engage and learn, and solidarity with one another. 

Q² stands for Queer and Questioning and it is an affinity space open to students who identify as LGBTQIA+ and/or are questioning any part of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The space was originally designed by students in Semester 40 (spring 2018) and is now guided by a faculty advisor. This is a safe space meant to build community amongst students with similar identifiers. Meetings include opportunities to discuss identity, share experiences, and simply spend quality time together. 

The HMI technology policy

No Cell Phones

HMI-Issued Chromebooks

WiFi Enabled Campus

The HMI student experience is strengthened by our technology policy that encourages face-to-face interaction and minimizes screen time. Each student turns in their cell phone upon arrival at HMI, and refrains from using their phone for the entirety of the semester. Students do not bring their own laptops or other internet-connected devices. Every student is issued a Chromebook laptop which they use for completing coursework and communicating with friends and family back home. HMI’s Chromebooks can access streaming platforms such as Netflix and Spotify, video chat platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype as well as a variety of other apps. Technology use is limited to free periods and evening study hall; meals, cabin time, and backpacking expeditions are completely tech-free. 

Experience a day in the life of HMI Semester 46 (spring 2021). This video was made for the Semester 46 virtual Family Weekend.