Professor Dumpster: ‘You can be happy living in 33 square feet’
In early February a university professor in Austin, Texas, moved into a 33-square-foot dumpster, where he plans to live in for a year. Wilson’s experiment is aimed at showing his students at Huston-Tillotson University, as well as the whole world, that people can happily live in a smaller space while lessening their impact on the environment.
“In America, the average American homes are about 2,500 feet more or less, and we wanted just to see whether one can have pretty good life on a lot less. So in this case we are living in 1 percent of size of average American home and our main hypothesis is that one may have a pretty good life in much, much less,” Wilson told RT.
Dr. Jeff Wilson, who is now known by the nickname “Professor Dumpster,” is a Harvard-educated environmental science professor and dean of the University College. He managed to transform an ordinary, smelly dumpster into a comfortable accommodation with a shower, kitchen, bed, toilet and even Wi-Fi. This project turned out to be very successful and warmly welcomed by students, though Dr. Wilson didn’t ask anyone to abandon their homes and join him.
“This is actually a science experiment, it’s an educational experiment. We wouldn’t expect anybody else to be crazy enough actually to live in 33 square feet. What we hope is to show that one can have a very good life at that level,” Wilson said.
“I think we are teaching a good lesson on living on less and some sustainability lessons here,” he added.
Living in a dumpster on the campus doesn’t only serve as example of a sustainable accommodation but allows Wilson to cut his expenditures on rent and saves him commuting time. The only “costs” are that he sometimes gets nocturnal visits from his students when they have some questions about their homework.
“The only rent I’m actually paying right now is the extra 15-20 hours that I’m working a week for free at the university just by communicating when the students come by night. That is probably my rent,” Wilson told RT.
Wilson argues that he has really become much happier and is has a better life. He plans to continue the experiment for another six months at least, probably another year.
“We are going to see where we will end up. I don’t think I’ll be moving back to a ‘conventional American home’ any time soon, but probably won’t downsize either. When you are at the bottom, when you are at that space, you at least can feel that you have a big space, even if it is a 200-square-foot New York studio apartment,” he said.
“The point here is that I’m living a pretty normal life, eat meat from time to time, I drive a normal car, I have a girlfriend. The only difference in my life is that instead of going home to a house, I’m going home to a dumpster,” Wilson said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.