contributed by Lauren Maggio [designer / recent interior design graduate / professional coconut enthusiast / book binder]
Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT] is located in Henrietta, New York, a few minutes away from downtown Rochester. Although it is not a booming metropolis like Chicago, Boston or New York, the city of Rochester is home to eclectic neighborhoods, art galleries, museums, shopping and unique dining experiences. Over 200 clubs and student run organizations further enrich the campus life at RIT, so there is just as much to do on campus. RIT builds its reputation on providing a challenging curriculum; therefore, students tend to find that their studies often hinder participation in social activities.
Career-oriented students from all over the world choose RIT in anticipation of the benefits of cooperative learning, study abroad programs and other professional preparatory opportunities. With a population of over 17,000 students pursuing over 2,000 degrees, it is hard not to describe RIT as a diverse place to learn.
RIT proves its commitment to providing students with professional experience and a broad offering of internships and cooperative work placements. Study abroad and co-op programs easily enhance learning experiences and have played an important role in post graduation job placement.
The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences is the home of the interior design program. It harbors the same university wide philosophy of a career preparatory education. The Vignelli Center for Design Studies is a premier part of the design building, housing archived works by famed designers Leila and Massimo Vignelli. The facility gives students access to original design work.
Upon entering the first year of study, interior, industrial, and graphic design students take foundation courses. From art history to 2D design, the courses instruct all design students about the broader scope of the design world. Second year students go one to attend classes geared toward their specific major, which means that the coursework hones in on developing practical professional interior design skills. Upperclassmen find more room in their schedules to pursue cross-disciplinary studies within the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences and throughout the other schools at RIT.
As a sophomore, one begins to see what it is like to be apart of the smaller community of interior design students. About twenty to twenty-five students constitute an individual class. Professional interior designers, architects, and industrial designers assign projects with real-world requirements. Building codes and regulations, ADA requirements, and sustainable building practices all find their way into student projects. Students prepare to sit for the exam offered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification [NCIDQ]. By the time of graduation, students are mindful of the social, political and human factors that affect design.
Pursuing a design major at a university predominantly populated by engineering and information technology students is a truly unique experience; moreover, the presence of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf [NTID] also makes for a distinct college experience.
The RIT community celebrates diversity by encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration. A good example of this is Imagine RIT, a campus wide festival that showcases the creativity and innovation of students and faculty. Students from the Interior design program worked with engineers to create a zero energy house.
Aside from the outstanding academic features, RIT is a place for students who thrive in diverse settings. Creative minds of a certain type find pleasure knowing the spirit of innovation takes precedent in the classroom. This, coupled with the unique student culture, contributes to the value of attending RIT.
Photos courtesy of rit.edu.