It's a simple premise, and it's the philosophy behind a new residential life program at Buena Vista University: new special-interest housing.
For the 2001-02 academic year, students were given the option of applying for certain living areas in the college's suites and cottages based on their own personal and educational interests.
Heidi Gesche, a freshman from Merrill, will live in a Spanish/Christian special-interest house this fall.
"Our emphasis is on Spanish and Christian living, so we are going to speak only Spanish certain hours, help with tutoring and sponsor cross-cultural ACES and movie nights. For the Christian perspective, we are going to have get-togethers and suite Bible studies," Gesche said.
"The students themselves take the initiative to create their own special-interest housing spaces," explained Nate Buseman, BVU's director of housing.
"The interest group must find a faculty or staff member who will serve as their advisor/mentor, then they submit an application in essay form to the director of residence life, and a committee of residence life personnel and representatives from the student body and faculty reviews all applications," said Buseman. "Special-interest housing really took off this year, with applications flooding in."
In addition to the Spanish/
Christian house, special-interest groups will live in communities that center around debate, post-graduate testing (preparation for the GRE, LSAT, CPA, etc.) and healthy lifestyles.
"It will be great because all the people in my suite are more serious students and aren't really into the party scene," noted Gesche.