Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Homeless Student

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org


It’s common knowledge that students are struggling with tuition and many find it tough to manage, but one student has taken things to extremes. In a story destined for the urban legends file, Steve Stanzak, a 20 year old student at New York University, has apparently been living at the university library for months. Unable to pay for affordable housing elsewhere, Stanzak took up residence, quite literally, between the books!

He apparently managed to live at the Bobst Library and avoid detection for eight months, using library washrooms, showering at a friend’s dorm, and keeping his clothing and possessions in lockers. It was only when his weblog accounts of the experience became public that he was finally found out. University officials have now provided Stanzak with free housing for the rest of the term.

As bizarre and unbelievable as this story might seem (after all he is a creative writing student who kept a weblog of the experience), it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility. We hear of homeless people setting up “shop” in all kinds of places, and this is really no different.

It does highlight the plight of university students everywhere, many of whom do make a great effort to get a degree in spite of enormous odds, sacrifices, and financial pressures. The irony is that education is the single most important factor in preventing homelessness.