Environmental Sciences professor Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas has found a novel way to engage his students in re-thinking the way Americans live: he has taken up residence in a 33-square foot dumpster. This tiny waste receptacle will be his home for the next year. “Professor Dumpster,” as Wilson is now being called, kicked off his year-long project on February 12th, 2014 with a Dumpster Warming Party (extremely cold temperatures caused it be rescheduled from the previous week).
The dumpster transformation will teach students about the positive aspects of reducing the waste of space, water, and food. Wilson plans to use a dumpster as an experimental teaching tool in broad areas of sustainability, such as converting dirty water to clean, drinking water, and generating electricity to power electronic and home devices.
The Dumpster Project is being managed by student organization Green Is the New Black (GITB) and is supported by a diverse team of academics from many disciplines. It will have three phases: in Phase 1, the dumpster is completely off the grid with no running water or electricity. During Phase 2, it will be hooked into power and water and will have appliances like a washer and dryer (and Wi-Fi). During Phase 3, the professor and his students will try to get their resource consumption down to 1% of the average American home. This will be challenging, as temperatures routinely top 100 degrees during the summer in Texas.
This is “Professor Dumpster,” an active promoter of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education:
Here is the six-foot-nine-inch “dumpster sweet dumpster” that he’s going to live in for a year. It’s located on the university’s campus:
Because the professor has recently moved in, his new home has minimal furnishings:
Jelly Erazo, a representative of GITB, shows off the dumpster’s water filtration system. All water for the dumpster during Phase 1 will be transported from Lady Bird Lake (over a mile away) and filtered:
The good professor left his mark on the cement pad where his dumpster will rest for the next year:
Like all American domiciles, this one has a mailbox (yes, you can send him snail mail):
Later in the year, other people will have the opportunity to live in the dumpster for a night (I’m hoping to be one of those people!).
Professor Dumpster needs to raise $25,000 to move into Phase 2 of his project. You can contribute HERE.
Be sure to TELL YOUR FRIENDS about this cool project!