Calgary

'We're not a campground': Student told she can't sleep in van at MRU parking lot

A Calgary student who was living in her camper van in a parking lot at Mount Royal University has been told to move along — a move she categorizes as "a bunch of stupid red tape."

'Just a bunch of stupid red tape,' Alana Keleigh says

A student at MRU can't park overnight on campus in her camper van, the school says. 0:34

A Calgary student who was living in her camper van in a parking lot at Mount Royal University has been told to move along.

Alana Keleigh moved into the van in September, parking for the night at various places in the neighbourhoods around the school.

But after her propane heater broke — and the cold snap hit in January — Keleigh started spending the night in university parking lots so she could plug in to the electricity.

University officials weren't amused, and put a warning notice on her windshield this week saying the van would have to be towed away if it isn't moved.

"We're not a campground," said parking and transportation manager Gerry McHugh.

"The parking permit she does have is for day use only. And she's more than welcome to come back during the day, and be here during the daytime."

Alana Keleigh says she has been sleeping in her van as a social experiment. (CBC)

Keleigh, who studies environmental science, says living in the van was more of a social experiment, so she plans to continue to live in it — but she'll park somewhere else.

She says the idea of smaller living has appealed to her ever since she saw the documentary Tiny on Netflix. 

"I hoped that I was a little bit discreet, but the institution has caught on and has let me know that this is inappropriate and — if I'm going to continue to live this way, which they've implied I should not — I can't do it here," Keleigh said.

"I think it's all just a bunch of stupid red tape."

Keleigh says her reading of the bylaws led her to think she wasn't breaking the rules.

"As long as I'm not naked, or in a place for 72 hours, or super loud, then everything should be fine," she said. 

"It's red tape that shouldn't necessarily be here, especially since a lot more people are thinking about living lifestyles that aren't exactly conventional." 

Keleigh says she has been given a partial refund on her parking pass, since she won't be parking on campus any longer.