Anyone can sleep on campus. Anyone can exist for an extended period on campus. But it takes more than anyone to survive at the university. You're going to need to think ahead and be smart about it. Here are some tips from our resident homeless student expert, Ron Frank.
"If you eat at the Pita Pit every day, you're going to last about a week and a half," Frank says. "Also make sure you have snacks for emergencies on you. You don't want it to be 2:30 a.m., hungry as heck and not have anything to eat."
Take up your friends on their offers
"When you have a chance to sleep somewhere, sleep there," says Frank. "Say I'm at a friends house, it's midnight, he's gone to sleep. I have two hours of homework, but I could also sleep. It's best I get the twelve hours of sleep the night before because the next night I might be only getting the five hours of sleep."
Have a good group of friends
You can't do this and expect to sleep on campus seven nights a week, it just won't happen. That's where a good group of friends comes in. Go hang out with a buddy for a night and make a day out of it. Don't just ask to crash on your friend's couch.
"The key is you cannot rely on any one person for an extended period of time," Frank says. "You cannot say, 'hey, buddy, can I sleep at your house tonight and also tomorrow and the next day?' That's when you're going to become a burden."
Always be prepared
The old boy scout motto applies here.
"Let's say you're like, 'I only want to bring my hoodie this time, I'll leave my winter jacket at home,'" Frank says. "[If] it gets cold that one night, you're screwed. Over prepare for things."
â€¢Use free phones on campus
"Make good use of those," says Frank. "I live off of those things."
â€¢Make friends with the janitors
"I could not have done any of this without the help of the janitors," says Franks. "By now, I've seen the same faces for three years. The same janitors are working in the same buildings at the same time."
If you make friends with the custodial staff, they're less likely to think you're a threat and call campus security on you. That's when your whole campus homeless adventure will unravel.
"You don't want to get to the point where you're on a first-name basis with the security guards," says Frank.