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Alumni and WOOFer: A Transformative Experience by Malcolm McCann

At the end of June last summer in a downtown Portland library, my friend Alex, turned to me, excited. He whispered “check this out!” and handed me his phone which displayed the flyer for the Summer 2019 Environmental Rhetoric course. We were driving up the coast from Southern California to Alaska and looking for interesting opportunities to engage, and this course looked like a fantastic one. We signed up.

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Sailboat Living: A Lesson in “Where it Comes From, and Where it Goes”

My name is Elizabeth. I am a mechanical engineer, a San Francisco Bay Area resident, and the secretary of Inian’s Board of Directors. I also live on a sailboat.

I’ll admit that the decision to move aboard was riddled with youthful exuberance and minimal knowledge of exactly what I was signing on for, aside from the vague sense that it would be both a challenging adventure and a learning opportunity. I remember distinctly that sailing the boat out of the slip at her previous marina, my first short voyage on the vessel, felt mildly illegal – it seemed like there should be rules against a 23 year old kid writing a check to a Craigslist seller and literally sailing into the sunset on her new prize. I had unwittingly discovered a vestige of true freedom to craft my lifestyle to my liking, and at least for the moment it tasted wonderfully sweet. Read more

The Hobbit Hole: An Oral History

Inian welcomes guest writer Regina Kong, Stanford undergraduate student intern of 2019. Regina was tasked with recording an oral history of the “Hobbit Hole.” The “Hobbit Hole” is an affectionate name used to describe the 5-acre parcel upon which Inian Islands Institute makes its home. 

The summer I spent at the Hobbit Hole feels as if it were a dream. The previous December, I emailed Zach asking if he needed an intern. I was halfway through my freshman year and beginning to think deeply about what a true education meant and what forms of wisdom could be attained outside of the traditional classroom—questions that I discovered resonated with Inian’s own mission. I hold a life-long love for storytelling, and Zach proposed that I work on an oral history of the Hobbit Hole, something Inian had wanted to do for a while. At Stanford, I had worked with audio narratives but never oral histories. This project, in weaving together themes of history, ecology, anthropology, and above all human connection, seemed absolutely made for me. Read more

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