Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Emergency Preparations

On Campus Prepping For College Students

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Here is the thread on prepping for the college student, apartment dweller, or other budget and space limited people.

Hey Hobbes_STI, thanks a lot for posting this thread. How college students can become more prepared is definitely something that's been on my mind lately, and I'm glad to have a place to discuss this now. I'm a senior at a very small liberal arts college in the South, and as I've become more interested in prepping lately I've realized how difficult it is to find people who are interested in the topic at my school. I won't make generalizations about college students other than to say that they are frequently very busy doing and thinking about things other than preparedness, and in a terrible job market we're all more than a little concerned about finding a job that can at least be self-sufficient enough to pay our bills and have something reasonably fulfilling to do after school. That being said, the best way to inform people about the benefits of a lifestyle of preparedness is to emphasize how prepping can, as we hear every day, "help you live a better life if times get tough, or even if they don't."

As college students, most importantly we need to be level-headed. As much as I support using college as a period to learn more about yourself while considering and expressing opinions that you may never have had before, college students who truly bring about change and help improve the lives of those around them usually are the ones who can think and speak intelligently while considering the points of view of others with whom they may disagree. This is especially true with regard to prepping, as some of the preparations you may with to make are simply impossible in the context of a college campus. So, let's start thinking of some reasonable preps that everyone can do, even on campus.

As we know, we can prepare in many ways and for many things. Things I've thought of so far that won't call too much attention to yourself, but that you could casually bring up in conversation if asked that don't make you look crazy:
1.) Try to keep at least half a tank of gas in your car (if you have one), or try to find another reliable non-public means of transportation. This is useful not only in stereotypical disasters, but in day-to-day crises, too. If you do have a car, also please remember to be mindful of what you keep in it... Academic institutions have very strict rules about what can be brought on campus, and no one wants to get in trouble or make others feel unsafe due to something that is kept in a BOB/vehicle preparedness kit. I think a personal automobile is a great place to store your preps if you have a way to secure them, and, as I'll mention later, your car can really serve as a great base of operations if you need it to.
2.) Keep at least a few rolls of quarters and $100 in small change hidden in your room that your roommates won't find. Yet again, another prep with multiple uses: good for making calls from a pay phone, for getting a taxi, using if the power goes out... Cash is always good to have on hand.
3.) Of course, extra flashlights and batteries around your dorm or apartment
4.) Food storage in a dorm is surprisingly easy... Tupperware (R) container under the bed with enough to get you by if severe weather hits and the dining hall shuts down, and as a college student, the junk you eat anyway probably stores well.
5.) Maybe you can get involved with a campus gardening or outdoors group. My college just started a gardening club on campus that helps provide fresh vegetables to our dining hall and student union, and our outdoors organization is very well funded.  Many colleges have outdoors groups that lead backpacking, climbing, kayaking, etc. trips at very reasonable prices. If you don't have much outdoors experience, an outdoors or gardening club is a great way to learn new skills and maybe even find other people who are interested in preparedness. If you listen and just let other people talk while you're on trips, the topic might even come up without you starting it.
6.) If you have a volunteer fire department in your town (or, if you're in a larger city, a Civilian Emergency Response Team - CERT), maybe you could volunteer there as a firefighter and/or EMT. I'm in my third year with my local fire department, and I know that the skills I've learned as a volunteer firefighter/EMT there will serve me well in the future.
7.) I recently became an amateur/ham radio operator. The technician-level (and general-level, I hear) test is very easy, and after that you can acquire a handheld or mobile/car ham radio to use in emergencies, or just for fun. With a full tank of fuel in your car, a 12v D/C to 110v A/C converter, some food/water/extra clothes, and multiple ways to communicate (ham/CB/cell phone), you can have a place to quite literally live and function. Such a base can be useful if the "crisis" is localized to the point of just getting kicked out of your apartment for some reason (can't pay the rent, water damage from a busted sprinkler head, etc.), or even if the crisis is of greater magnitude (and, if you have a strong mobile ham radio/antenna, you could be very useful in helping coordinate emergency efforts in the event of a true emergency).

Now, I would really like to hear from other college students, or from anyone else who has some experiential input. All I ask of any college student who is interested in preparedness is to please respect the rules of your institution. No matter your opinion on other things, everyone wants a safe place to live and study, and the best way we can be good stewards to our fellow students and friends is by making sure that our actions never endanger others, especially in the name of "preparedness." Please be mindful of your words and actions, especially if you are representing our community of preparedness.

I commuted, but have plenty of friends that stayed on or near campus.

Advice: find a buddy that has an off-campus house where you can store some preps. A friend of mine rented a house with two of his best buds, and he let me toss a 5 gallon can of gas in the back of his garden shed, and he was a prepper so I could always count on a couple of MRE's if we had to shoot and scoot. We had another friend that caught on and did the same, but his was only 2.5 gallons since he had an old jap bike of some description. Might have been an old CBR IIRC, but there was NO body work - kind of looked like an old school cafe racer.

I digress.

in a SHTF scenario, your first priority should be to get OFF campus if the situation is on or near campus. Bikes are great since they're lightweight, fast enough, quiet, and man-portable when you reach a fence, wall, overpass, water, etc.

As far as space limited food storage, stick to a 72 hour bag, or even a 48 hour bag with another stash of food and clothes somewhere nearby, but off campus. Make friends with maintenance folks. I can't tell you all the neat stuff I have access to just because I know the name of the one guy with ALL the keys. If you make a friend like that, you can rely on him to relocate a stashed bag if it gets in the way of a maintenance worker, or claim it as his if need be - but be careful not to put anything in the bag that raises eyebrows. Stick to a pocket knife, food, bottles of water, and a change of clothes, so at the very least he can say to the repair guy "aww hell, i've been looking for that for three days! where the hell did you find that?!"

Might not be a bad idea to toss two 20 dollar bills in there specifically for said friend if and when he needs to spread the wealth to avoid a problem, or simply as a "thank you". Another good idea is a prepaid tracfone - the cheapest I've seen is 10 bucks at office depot. An emergency charger would be cool too, so if, again, the bag is discovered, said friend can immediately open the bag, snag the phone, and call your sorry butt to come get the damn thing.

Another option is to put a cheapo wallet in there, with a few cards, a few coins, but make it look well worn and make it look gone-through - i.e. pack it on top of the bag all haphazard like, and ruffle up the clothes inside, and rip open an MRE packet and stuff it in there. If any prying eyes open it up, it'll look like someone snagged it, took the cash, opened the MRE to see what it looked like, and voila, it must have been snatched from wherever you left it...

If you are able to stash it in a garden shed sort of place, then the phone is just for you, just in case, and none of the above "outs" are needed. Pack the bag neatly and you can stuff more things into it.

There's a variety of ways to store firearms off-site that are acceptably secure and hidden, but I never reccomend storing complete firearms anywhere but on your own property. The campus is NOT your own property, and firearms are generally not allowed on campus via the course catalog - in VA there's no state law restricting on-campus carry, but if you're a student, you technically signed your rights away, so don't be dumb.

The interesting thing, however, is at least at my college, there's nothing saying you can't store a firearm secured in your vehicle. If you park your car on campus, however, you're risking it being stolen and having to deal with all that crap, so unless you install a fake muffler or weld a box into the bumper, you're better off finding a secure off-site storage location. Some gun shops let you store your guns/ammo/etc., so this might not be a bad idea. Also you might consider a storage unit or safe deposit box, or get a 24-hour gym membership and store it in a locker there, inside its own lock box. This might be a good technique if you strip your firearm and store the lower in the lock box, and the upper with your go-bag (semiautomatic pistol or AR-15, for example. Revolvers are pretty much all-or-nothing)

that's pretty much how I rolled. I had plenty of junk in my car to sustain me, and when I got my dog, he started riding with me and going to every class except labs since he's a "service dog in training". Doesn't matter what kind of service, and nobody can ask you what you need a service dog for... Americans' with Disabilities Act precludes anyone from asking the nature of your disability as a condition for entering or allowing your dog on premises, since it's protected private medical information. Ha! Further, there's no law in VA regarding service animals insofar as the owner having a disability, so long as I'm the one paying for the dog and the training, it's my business how I train him - the laws are mostly concerned with behavior, testing, and proper vaccinations, then the dog can go anywhere it's not deemed a safety risk (like an organic chemistry lab filled with bottles of cyclohexane...).

Oddly enough, he's been in the anatomy and physiology lab quite a bit, and my advisor loves him to death.

Again, I digress... the point is to look for even the wildest and craziest options, and to make friendly-like with everyone that holds a choke point to the unrestricted access to your environment. Open doors is open doors, and beer in advance is cheaper than a trespassing charge afterwards.

Wow some great posts you two. I'm putting my list together here in the near future for what i think is possible. (haven't gotten to it as of yet, had a vamily emergency) But it should be done soon.

My wife and I are talking about making up 2 "BOBS" for our son and his girl friend at San Francisco State.  My wife worries about a earthquake or other major problem with them 400 miles away.  We will put in some maps incase they have to be on foot.  Guns are illegal in S.F.  But maybe some other self defense like pepper spray.  My wife and I have never been sure why they went to that school, they cant even park on campus.  And they pay more for rent than for school.  They have only 1 more year.  The great thing is, after 3 years, they both now cant wait to leave S.F.  That flower faded quick.


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