Hurricane Island

Course Information

HON 175/RLE 06 begins on Hurricane Island during UMaine’s Bridge Week, the week before classes officially start in the fall. Back on campus, students then attend class once a week on Fridays from 1:00-1:50 pm and also participate in community-based volunteer projects throughout the fall semester.

On Hurricane Island, where we will be camping (really “glamping”) for 4 days, you explore the Island’s natural landscape and culture; engage in a variety of small research projects related to the island’s ecosystem and history; forge friendships as you hike, swim, and share meals with your cohort; have moments for quiet reflection and others for robust discussions. Here we begin reflecting on what it means to build and be part of a community and consider our roles/obligations as members and participants, while also being introduced to basic research skills from asking good questions to learning how to collect and analyze data.

HON 175 is a 1-credit course, available for incoming, first year students only. Additionally, HON 175 will substitute for HON 170 or 180. Click here for more information about HON 170 and 180.

Applications for fall 2023 are now open!

Space in the course is limited. Please contact us at for more information.

Click here for the application to join this course.

Course Description

HON 175/RLE 06 is a hybrid of experiential and traditional classroom learning with two major goals: 1) to build a sense of community and belonging among the participants themselves and to the Honors College, UMaine, and community partners more broadly, and 2) to familiarize students with the nature of research and build research skills by taking part in different research projects on and off Hurricane Island. Students are challenged to consider multiple roles and perspectives as members of different communities and as developing researchers through experiences in and outside of the classroom.

Course Objectives—Students will

  • Forge a sense of belonging and community among participants and to the Honors College 
  • Consider what makes a community and what membership in one means, in our class, our College, and with our community partners
  • Engage in project-based, experiential learning and research on Hurricane Island where students are exposed to the basics of conducting research from asking good questions to collecting and analyzing data
  • Volunteer with community partner organizations on projects that foster broader community engagement and networks
  • Learn to work collaboratively toward a shared goal with classmates and community partners
  • Reflect on the value of belonging to a community and building connections that are meaningful, supportive, and sustainable

Course Outcomes—Students will:

  • Explain the value of membership and belonging to a community
  • Identify stakeholders in community-partnerships
  • Learn about constructing collaborative working groups and effectively communicating with each other and their community partners
  • Take responsibility for success of the community partnership/project
  • Reflect on how this experience has helped them develop as learners and researchers
  • Identify the relevance/applicability of their experience beyond this RLE