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Student Ditches Campus Housing and Moves Into Van 29

Duke graduate student Ken Ilgunas has come up with a plan to make it through school debt free. He plans on living in his 1994 Ford Econoline van. He showers and exercises in the campus gym, and knows where all the 24-hour buildings are so he can keep warm, and connected to the Internet. "I'm rarely in the van. Just to eat and sleep. Generally it's not the most convenient place. The closest bathroom is a quarter-mile away and there's no source of water nearby. But with that said, I live pretty comfortably. I bring a water jug to campus and fill it up," he said.


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Student Ditches Campus Housing and Moves Into Van

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  • Fill 'er up (Score:2, Funny)

    by cam312 ( 1240696 )
    "The closest bathroom is a quarter-mile away" and "I bring a water jug to campus and fill it up" pretty much says it all.
  • By any chance, is the van down by the river?
  • One of my best friends, who eventually became student government president, lived in his van when he first came to school in 1980. Heck, I lived in my van for a while in college too, but I was parked next to the frat house for showers and food (about the same as sleeping on the couch, but with more privacy.)
  • How does this guy pick up a girl and convinces her to go back to his van and not sounds like a rapist/serial killer.

    • How does this guy pick up a girl and convince her to go back to his van? He offers her ice cream and candy. It helps a lot if the van has the phase "ice cream", along with phallic-looking graphics of popsicles, printed on the side. Picking up women, on the other hand, is much more difficult.
  • If you are currently living in a van, you are much more likely to move in with the first girl that offers than if you already have a nice apartment. Trust me on this, I speak from experience!
  • If I was as wise as I am now when I was in college, I would definitely do things differently and more along these lines. I love this.

  • by gone.fishing ( 213219 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @05:00PM (#30417186) Journal

    Over the years I have owned and camped in numerous conversion vans. I've never lived in one though but I wouldn't think that it would be too uncomfortable as long as you lived a minimalist lifestyle. The big problem would be the facilities but my boat has an answer for that. It is a very small chemical toilet. It sits underneath a box that looks like it is a built-in footstool.

    Living in a climate where the temp drops to -20 below there are times where you would need some sort of heating. A small catalytic heater could help but would be dangerous unless you also have a CO detector. Perhaps a small furnace from a travel trailer would be a better solution (keep the CO detector to be safe).

    What besides space would you be missing? Today you have cell phones, LCD televisions, wireless internet. Almost anything that plugs in can be had for 12V and inverters are available for those things that can't be.

    I went to school and emerged debit free. I lived in my parent's old house that hadn't sold yet and only paid utilities (that was a big help) and relied on a part time job for income. I got the GI bill and was lucky enough to win a grants for my text books and other school related expenses and even got some money for tuition. While many of my fellow students emerged with huge bills for student loans, I graduated with zero debit!

    Was it worth it? Hell yeah. I only had to concentrate on the future and was not haunted by the ghosts of the past; all those ghosts named "Bill".

    I can say if I had to do it again and if I had to live in a van to emerge debit free; I would not think twice.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's too bad you didn't learn the difference between debt and debit.

  • As dumb as he is for getting such a worthless Masters, at least he has the forethought to not saddle the rest of us with defaulted student loans!

    • such a worthless Masters

      The student admits himself that, given today's economical situation, he won't easily land a big-money job.

      The whole experiment stemmed from that fact and trying to avoid accumulating a loan he wouldn't be able to pay.

      On the other hand, that's pretty much extreme. Given all the hoops he has jumped through, it would have been much more simple to do his studies abroad, like in any of the European countries where studies are still affordable (don't need to sell a few organs on the black market just to pay tuiti

  • Here's the solution for the bathroom issue: http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/thetford-porta-potti-465-electric/35773 [campingworld.com] . I live in an RV year 'round, so I know what I'm talking about here. I live in central Missouri, and sometimes my regular commode freezes up in super cold weather. I use the above item in the winter. You'll be happy you made the investment, and all you have to do is drive that van to the local dump station when it's full. As for water, why not get a cylindrical igloo cooler,
  • What makes this kid so special? I know several kids who go to school and live in the woods or in their cars. Not only is it cheap, but it is green and teaches valuable life lessons on perspective...

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn