Mark Yesilevskiy has a passion and a talent for photography. He has been interested in art all his life and developed an enthusiasm for taking photos while in high school.
When it came time to make a decision for a college major, however, passion wasn’t enough to win his parents’ approval.
Yesilevskiy and his parents are natives of T’bilisi, Georgia, in the former Soviet Union. His parents grew up in a society where doctors and businessmen were admired, and where “starving artists” were a grave reality. So if Yesilevskiy wanted their help paying for college, photography was simply out of the question.
“I can’t pay the $35,000 a year on my own,” says Yesilevskiy, a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology (rit.edu). “I need their help. So I had to find a best of both worlds.”
Yesilevskiy and his parents finally both agreed on new-media marketing, a business major that incorporates art. But it still didn’t quite cure Yesilevskiy’s itch for photography.
So though he’s majoring in something that his parents approve of, his college living is located in Photo House, a special-interest housing option that focuses on photography.
Other schools also offer unique college living opportunities allowing students to pursue their hobbies in their dorms.
The 80-year-old Global Village program in the Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University (rutgers.edu) brings together young women interested in foreign language, cultural awareness and leadership skills. And it’s not limited to people with specific majors.
“Each year, we have a waiting list for acceptance; the program is very popular among our students,” says Danielle Gougon, assistant dean of global academics in Douglass Residential College.
Each of Douglass’s special interest houses has 12 to 15 students, with a total of about 125 students in the program.
Students at Goucher College (goucher.edu) in Baltimore, Md., brought the idea of special-interest housing to the college.
“Our program helps the students create a place where they want to live,” says Angela Lucia, community living coordinator there. “It helps give them ownership of where they live.”
When students want to create a special-interest house at Goucher, they put a plan together for the house, have a method of student selection, and prove there is enough interest.
Today, Goucher College has a Language House, and a Healthy Living house for substance-free college living. There’s also a Green House, a special-interest house where students practice eco-friendly living, and a Gaming House for students interested in computer and non-computer gaming.
Since choosing special-interest housing, Yesilevskiy has settled into his major, and still finds an outlet for photography. “I couldn’t have asked for it to turn out any better,” he says. “I finally get to do what I love, and it’s all thanks to Photo House.”
Torie Bonnet is an advertising/public relations major at the Rochester Institute of Technology (rit.edu).