Being homeless is one thing most of us avoid at all costs, but not this college student. Shane Dussault, a philosophy major at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, chooses to be homeless voluntarily:
Inside one of Shane Dussault’s backpacks is a laptop, a small bag of tools, a bag of electronics, and an ultra-absorbent compressed towel the size of a washcloth. In the other is a kettle, food supplies such as olive oil, fruit, cheese and bread, and a bag of toiletries. His other three possessions are a down mat, a sleeping bag, and a “bivy bag,” which is a large Gore-Tex sack.
Shane is a U1 Philosophy student at McGill, and has been homeless since July. He lives on campus, using its facilities like most of us use different rooms in a house. He eats his meals in student lounges and does push-ups in the library. He showers at the gym and stashes extra socks in convenient hiding spots. He won’t say where – he guards his possessions closely.
He also sleeps outside year round, on campus in the winter and on the mountain in the summer. Again, for his own safety and privacy, he doesn’t disclose where. Every morning, he packs up his gear and begins another typical student day – he walks to class, takes notes on his mini Acer laptop in lecture, and logs long hours in the library to stay on top of his courses. (You can usually find him in Blackader Lauterman, the Art History library in Redpath). At the end of the day, he returns to his spot and sets up again, completing what must be the shortest commute in McGill history. On the weekends, when he visits friends or goes to parties, he’s careful not to drink too much – alcohol slows the blood’s circulation, something Shane can’t risk while sleeping outside in February. And the strangest part? He does it all by choice.