Dumpster Dwelling 101: Eccentric Prof Launches Sustainable Living Experiment

Professor Dumpster

Meet Professor Dumpster. Professor Dumpster thinks that everyone can live a perfectly normal and happy life inside of a space no larger than a dumpster, If you’d like to learn how, there’s good news! He’s offering a class (sort of).

Dr. Jeff Wilson, an environmental science professor and dean at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, is of the Thoreau/Diogenes school of sustainable living (less is more, nature is your living room, etc.) and he’s embarking on a year-long experiment.

Dubbed “The Dumpster Project,” Dr. Wilson will be living inside of a 33-square-foot dumpster to test sustainable living on the scale of roughly 1 percent of the standard American home, reports Mother Nature Network.

It’s kind of a neat idea, and you can’t help but respect his discipline. He told Co.Exist that he’s only taking a few things with him. “A suitcase filled with dumpster-ready essentials, a Sun God totem from Kazakhstan, and a pair of lederhosen.”

Ah, there’s the biting liberal sense of humor academia is known for! But in all seriousness, Professor Dumpster says this isn’t a political statement about poverty, housing or the environment. He’s more like the David Blaine of academia. He’s just doing this because it will be a challenge.

If there is a political ring to the experiment, Dr. Wilson said he wants to just start a conversation on how we can make do with less as we move into the future.

To the class part: Dr. Wilson plans on also using his (sanitized) dumpster as an interactive teaching lab. From his website:

Here’s the plan: the Dumpster Team is developing a sustainability program for a variety of grade levels based on the broad topic of ‘less is more.’ Professor Dumpster will provide an entertaining context for the program by taking up residence in the dumpster for a full year beginning in fall of 2013. During that time he’s going to need a whole lot of help to make the dumpster habitable in the Texas heat…and that’s where the students come in.

Through a series of three program design challenges, students will help Professor Dumpster monitor the conditions of his dwelling space and outfit the dumpster with everything he needs to live comfortably.

Though he’ll be based in Texas, Dr. Wilson also wants to take his show on the road. The plan is to visit schools around the country on an educational tour.

“This will allow us to do some interesting experiments, [like] dropping it on a kid’s playground and seeing what happens. Because they’re going to open the door and see an Xbox, a bed, a shower, all these things,” Wilson said of the tour.

You can find out more about The Dumpster Project here, or consider supporting Dr. Wilson in his quest. I smell an independent movie adaptation…