By Aubree DeVisser | Echo
Sophomore Noah Rader recently chose an unusual hobby. He and his father chose to modify a bus into an RV.
Over the summer, Rader traveled 700 miles to Minnesota to buy a bus. He then drove it all the way to his home in Ferdinand, Indiana with no issues, for which he was grateful. He brought the bus back to Taylor and parked it in the east end of Olson's parking lot.
Student's reactions ranged from confusion to bemusement: freshman Makenzie Williams asked, "Why is there a bus taking up parking spaces?" and sophomore Madison Prince said, "I thought it was for little kids at first."
Rader enjoys modifying projects with his dad, which is where he got the idea to renovate the bus. He remodeled the whole vehicle, taking out the seats and flooring and replacing the floors with laminate. But the modifications didn't stop there.
Rader added enhancements to the bus that not only made it functional, but livable. Among the improvements: access to water.
"(I) got a counter and sink and did plumbing for it so you can hook it up to any water source," Rader said. "It's more of a camper than an R.V. It's got a couch that folds out and everything." The final cost, including purchase price and renovations, totaled less than $3,000.
Due to the large size of the vehicle, many people may wonder how to drive the bus. "It's like driving a big truck; it's not that difficult," Rader said. He has a specific insurance policy that covers him exclusively, making him the only one able to drive it. Therefore, renting out the bus is unfortunately not an option.
According to sophomore Joshua Clement, one of Rader's floormates on Penthouse, Rader brought the bus to Taylor after receiving permission from Campus Police. His wing took advantage of this opportunity and used the bus for a Bro-Sis trip to Muncie. "It's such a 'Noah' thing to do," Clement said. "As his PA, I thought of all of the incredible opportunities that would arise with someone on our floor having a bus that can take up to 40 people."
Clement went on to say how the bus's environment can create new relationships, start conversations and give passengers a chance to experience something new. Additionally, each new group of people gives a new feel to the bus every time.
Not only do Rader and his PA appreciate the bus, but so do the freshman on the wing. Coming to Taylor includes many surprises, but one surprise freshman couldn't have anticipated is Rader's DIY bus transformation, which is available for floor use.
"It's pretty amazing," Penthouse freshman Ethan Rice said. "It really helps foster community when we use it to travel to floor events."
Despite the novelty, Rader does not drive the bus on a daily basis. He has another car on campus that is much more fuel-efficient.
Currently, Rader is trying to sell the bus. He has a few interested buyers from back home already lined up. He plans to use the money to buy a larger bus and begin his next project.
"Well, it's kind of sad because it's the first (bus I modified), but then I can make a bigger one," Rader said.