At WE-HCOL we know the science behind living well and doing well academically. In 2018-19 WE-HCOL students will put theory to practice through wellness activities (yoga, mindfulness, healthful eating and mentorship) and resources incentivizing healthy choices.

WE stands for Wellness Environment; it's  UVM's innovative cultural change program housed in a residential environment and married to a behavioral-change, neuroscience-inspired curriculum whose mission is to empower students to practice wellness and receive resources and incentives to live a healthy lifestyle. It has received national recognition including NBC News, the Boston Globe, and CBS Evening News for it’s innovative, neuroscience-based approach to cultural change. Explore the curriculum and possibilities below:

WE-HCOL: Program Mission

Academic wellness is a prerequisite to academic excellence at UVM. The WE-HCOL mission is to enable and empower talented students to achieve a deep understanding of and appreciation for how their potential as scholars and individuals is influenced by the choices they make both inside and outside the classroom. Through rigorous seminar style coursework focused on developing knowledge, and lectures dedicated to understanding physiological and psychological factors associated with optimal physical and cognitive functioning, the Honors College and WE provide first year Honors College students with an intellectually rigorous introduction to college, as well as a holistic academic wellness experience that prepares them for success both inside and outside of the classroom.

WE HCOL: Curricular Requirements

WE-HCOL students will take The Pursuit of Knowledge (HCOL 085, 3 credits) and Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies (COMU 001, 3 credits) during the Fall 2022 semester.

The Pursuit of Knowledge is a three-credit course taught in seminar-style format to classes of 19 students. In the class, students explore what it means to “know,” through classic and contemporary texts that present a wide range of perspectives on what we can know about the world and how we know it.  Central questions include:

  • How do we understand rationalism?  How do we understand empiricism?  And what about a way of thinking that we might call narrative knowledge--a way of constructing the world through the stories we tell about it and ourselves?
  • How is knowledge generated and deployed in different contexts?
  • How might ways of pursuing knowledge that we take for granted (in North America, for instance) be challenged by the way certain non-Western cultures conceive of knowing?

Students read and discuss challenging and thought-provoking texts such as Descartes' Meditations, Hume's Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. This course will fulfill the university’s information literacy and writing requirement.

Healthy Brains Healthy Bodies is a three-credit course that examines the effects the college experience has on the minds and bodies of individuals. Students enrolled in COMU 001 will investigate how their development is affected by their environment, the choices they make, and the relationships they build; using an understanding of the neuroscience of behavioral change students learn how to make the most of their college experience and make positive, long-lasting decisions regarding their personal health; and the basic physiological and psychological factors that are associated with optimal physical and cognitive functioning at every stage of life. 

Honors College students considering the WE-HCOL Dual Citizenship Program are strongly encouraged to discuss their learning community preferences with academic advisors in the Honors College as well as in their home college. Careful curricular planning for students in highly structured majors (including several fields in science, engineering, and education) is needed, and in some cases students may need to closely examine their first year course requirements and ensure that HCOL 085 and COMU 001 both fit their course schedule before signing up for the dual citizenship program.

WE HCOL Learning Community

WE-HCOL students will be members of the WE learning community in the Central Campus Residence Hall, and they participate in the academic life of both programs. Within the Wellness Environment, HCOL-WE students will:

  • Live together as a community in the Wellness Environment with incentivized fitness, yoga, mindfulness, mentoring and nutrition benefits
  • Get paid to exercise! WE students receive free group fitness passes and gym memberships ($300 value), and have fitness center access in their residence hall.
  • Daily access to yoga and mindfulness practice right in your residence hall.
  • All WE students will be invited to join WEmentors, a unique partnership between the University of Vermont and the City of Burlington, where you will get to teach a young person a skill and share with them what you have learned about growing healthy brains and healthy bodies.
  • Enjoy the peace of mind that you are sharing an environment free from the presence and distraction of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Encouraged to attend WEventure! A new pre-orientation program for all first year WE students. You will learn about the science of behavior change, participate in daily activities around the 4 pillars of wellness (e.g., sunrise mindfulness, sunset yoga, fitness assessments, nutrition coaching), and have a blast!
  • Monitor health goals with support from WE Mentors, coaches, and staff

WE HCOL: Program Rules and Requirements

WE-HCOL dual citizens will come into UVM registered for small seminars and rigorous, engaging coursework. They will also be living in the WE Residence Hall on central campus where they will have access to a gym, fitness trainers, a learning kitchen, nutritionists, a yoga studio, and mindfulness instructors. To be WE-HCOL citizens in good standing, the Honors College and WE requires the following of students:

  • Participating students must participate in the academic life of both programs, and register for the Honors College First Year Seminar (HCOL 085) and Healthy Brains Healthy Bodies (COMU 001) during the Fall 2022 semester.
  • HCOL-WE Dual Citizens will abide by the living expectations of the WE community, and commit to a residential environment that is free from the influence and presence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Sign up for WE-HCOL

  • Up to 25 incoming first year Honors students may choose to participate in WE-HCOL within the Wellness Environment. Admitted students can sign up for Honors learning communities by activating their NetID and following instructions at:

  • Students interested in participating in the WE-HCOL Dual Citizenship program should preference "Wellness Environment" as their first preferred learning community, and "Honors" as their second preferred learning community. (Space is limited in WE-HCOL, and this ensures that if there is more demand for the program than there is space available, students will still be placed in an Honors learning community)

  • Learning community preferences can be edited up until May 4.

  • Students interested in living in Honors housing in University Heights North should preference Honors housing as their first preferred learning community.