For some, van-dwelling may conjure images of pop-culture losers forced into desperate measures during troubled times: losers like Uncle Rico from "Napoleon Dynamite," or "Saturday Night Live's" Chris Farley who'd famously exclaim, "I live in a van down by the river!" before crashing through a coffee table, or perhaps the once ubiquitous inhabitants of multicolored VW buses, welcoming strangers with complimentary coke lines and invitations to writhing, hairy, back-seat orgies.In contrast, this week's This American Life profiles Penn State - recently crowned #1 party school in America:
In my van there were no orgies or coke lines, no overweight motivational speakers. To me, the van was what Kon-Tiki was to Heyerdahl, what the GMC van was to the A-Team, what Walden was to Thoreau. It was an adventure.
Living in a van was my grand social experiment. I wanted to see if I could -- in an age of rampant consumerism and fiscal irresponsibility -- afford the unaffordable: an education.
So we wondered: What is it like to be at the country's top party school? This American Life producers spent a recent football weekend at Penn State to figure this out. There, we learned the definition of "fracket" (think frat plus jacket); the best way to clean up beer cans after a big party (snow shovel); and how hard it is to get college kids to drink less (really hard).So how does these stories compare to your experiences, at home or across the pond?