AUSTIN -- Dumpster diving is taking on a whole new meaning at Huston-Tillotson University. It's all about a professor and the number "one." The dean of Huston Tillotson's University College will live on campus for the next year.
His goal is to live in a space one percent the size of the average home, while using one percent of the water and energy used by an average home and producing only one percent of the waste an average home produces.
"This is what's called an eight cubic yard dumpster, also with windows and doors,” said Huston-Tillitson environmental science professor Jeff Wilson, Ph.D.
Wilson made those comments back in October when he checked out dumpsters, not for trash or treasure, but rather to size them up as a future home.
"Telling people you have life dreams, you want to live in a dumpster, it brings sympathy your way,” Wilson said.
Wilson isn’t looking for sympathy. He’s looking to pique interest in sustainability. After laying the foundation for his yearlong plan, on Monday Wilson’s 36 square foot dumpster was laid on its foundation. Why not some something bigger?
"That would be just too easy, right?” said Wilson.
It’s a three part project. Phase one is just camping in the dumpster for a couple of months. Phase two calls for turning it into an average American dumpster home.
"We are going to actually link into the grid and measure how much water and energy we use as we add appliances,” said Wilson.
Then it goes high-tech. In phase three of this project, solar panels will actually be attached to the top of this dumpster.
"So, we’ll actually be putting power back on the grid,” said Wilson.
While Wilson will live in the dumpster most of the time, some of his students will take turns living in it when Wilson is away.
"I want to see what he’s feeling, basically," said Evette Jackson. "What is so amped about it? I want to live in it, too."
"I feel like when I signed up to be co-chair, I signed up to live in it,” said Olivia Sanchez. “I think it will be kind of cool.”
"It’s different, and it’s out of the box,” said Jackson. "Out of the box but in the dumpster basically.”
Wilson will draw water from Lady Bird Lake and filter it to drink.