Professor moves in dumpster to teach sustainable living

By Latricia C. Wilson


While families were carving turkeys, playing games and celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday last year, Jeff Wilson — dean of University College and associate professor of biological sciences at Huston-Tillotson University — was moving into a 33-square-foot dumpster on the university campus.
Wilson sold all his home furnishings to live on the university’s campus in an effort to teach students sustainable living. The professor seemed to not particularly care about sustaining his furniture or other personal belongings by obtaining a storage unit in order to save on the cost of furniture after his 365-day experiment has ended.
The professor isn’t the brightest crayon in the box for selling all of his furniture and possibly risks ruining his relationship with his girlfriend, Clara Bensen, who he has been dating for more than 10 months.
On the other hand, the professor should earn a Nobel Peace Prize for the drastic measures he has taken to teach students how to reduce their ecological footprints in what he is calling the ‘Dumpster Project.’
According to Mail Online, after the professor took one look at a dumpster while sipping on a latte at Starbucks, he envisioned his new home to be in a place where rats and cockroaches usually roam.
“I looked out of the window into the parking lot and saw an eight-yard dumpster and had some sort of strange flash that I was definitely moving into a dumpster,” he told Fast Company.
One can only wonder if Wilson’s latte was spiked with a few shots of vodka due to his speedy transition from his home to a dumpster on the HT University lawn.
Wilson seemed anxious to move out of his apartment in his quest to attain a simpler way of living when he posted an announcement on Facebook that read: “Starting at 6 p.m., I will be selling all of my home furnishings, clothes, kitchen appliances and everything else in the apartment for $1 an item,” according to Mail Online.
The Harvard educated environmental science professor won’t have to travel very far to get to work for the entire year — he plans to live in a dumpster that he and some students have transformed into a luxury trash suite.
Even though Wilson will be living the life of a homeless person, he will definitely be living more comfortably in his dumpster than a lot of  people do in their own homes.
Wilson — who has taken on the alter ego Professor Dumpster — has a shower, kitchen, bed, toilet, and Wi-Fi that his students customized for him, according to Mail Online.
However, the professor’s new dumpster residence at HT will not be 100 percent comfortable because he has to sleep diagonally in the 6 feet by 6 feet dumpster, according to Yahoo News.
“I’m 6’1”, so that’s a little math problem,” he said.
Wilson will have to leave his apartment to get water from the Town Lake, where he will have to haul eight five-gallon buckets uphill, according to Yahoo News.
Wilson definitely won’t have any privacy, being that his dumpster will be in view and possibly at the disposal of all the HT University faculty members and students. He probably will even have to see a chiropractor for the new back problems he could develop from sleeping sideways in a dumpster for a whole year.
However, Wilson’s dumpster will soon feel more and more like a real home.
According to The Dumpster Project website, Wilson’s living space will be “plugged into the electrical and water grid, and the team will start to add on appliances like a washing machine, dryer and a hot water heater (most of it in the ‘back lawn’).”
“The overarching goal … is to test whether one can have a pretty good life while treading lightly on the planet — all from a dumpster that is one percent the size of the average new American home,” Wilson said.
The Dumpster Project should be a project that all single people — and maybe even couples — participate in. Instead of paying a few hundred dollars every month for rent and ridiculous electricity bills, millions of Americans could keep a few dollars in their pockets by living in dumpsters.
College students could keep more cash in their pockets to go towards swaggered-out clothes, partying and college tuition if they could just find a nice dumpster to live in near or on campus.
On the other hand, the development of dumpster residences versus actual wood and brick homes could be potentially problematic.
Dumpster dwellers will most certainly have to restrict the number of guests in their home. They may even have to worry about Department of Sanitation workers mistakenly picking their dumpster home up during weekly trash pick ups.
Winter storms, tornado season and hurricane season could most certainly make life stressful for dumpster dwellers.
I remember my mother would always say, “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” Therefore, if people really want to live in dumpsters, then they will make a way to do so, and Professor Dumpster is showing the world how they can make that way every day.
“We need to raise $25,000 to move Professor Dumpster up from Dumpster Camping to an ‘Average American Dumpster Home’ so please reach out today!” the Dumpster Team said on the The Dumpster Project website.
So if you want to help ‘Professor Dumpster’ upgrade his super cramped trash space, visit to give your gift today.

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1 reply


  1. the consumer machine, mass conformity, and a new lfie in the sea | Oceans of Opportunity

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