Kids Off the Grid: Students Mad for Alternahouses

And you thought the punk house that your friends lived in during the '90s was unique. The New York Times reported Sunday on three students whose housing arrangements smash all previous standards of dorm-room customization.

Brett Butler, age 24, of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., lives in a teepee (left) that he constructed about 20 minutes from campus. Jake Weller, 19, at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania, makes his home in a modest geodesic dome that he built with the blessing of his dean of students. And Ann Holley, 29, lives with her husband in a 127-square-foot tiny house that she started as a school project on the campus of Alfred University in upstate New York.

But students have long been known for crafting interesting living habitats for themselves, prompted by the twin urges of social idealism and financial limitation. It seems possible that the current economic downturn, coupled with resurgent environmentalism, has created an atmosphere that's especially ripe for experimental living.